High fives for Roper

Sheffield Hallam Civica v Barford Tigers.....No Catching Hallams Phil Roper
Sheffield Hallam Civica v Barford Tigers.....No Catching Hallams Phil Roper

Phil Roper stole the show as Sheffield Hallam Civica returned to outdoor action in goal-happy style.

The England Under-21 hot-shot bagged five goals in the double-header home wins over Olton & West Warwicks and Barford Tigers as the Abbeydale side rattled in 10 goals with just two against.

They opened with a 4-1 victory over Olton and followed up with a comprehensive 6-1 demolition job on Barford to move back into second place in the HEL North Conference.

Other results now mean that the top five clubs are separated by only two points and if Deeside Ramblers win their game in hand that will rise to six.

Civica failed to find a way through in the first half against new boys Olton & West Warwick, who came into the league off the back of a perfect record of 22 wins out of 22 in the Midlands Premier Division, but that all changed in the 46 minute when Scott Sanderson got on the end of a hard ball across the circle from Andy Musgrave.

The visitors responded with an equaliser five minutes later but then lost their cool in the final 10 minutes when one of their players was sin-binned.

Civica took full advantage as Martin Ebbage gave them a deserved lead and then Roper sealed victory with two open play goals.

It was a different story when second from bottom Barford came to town.

That man Roper was at it again within 90 seconds with a reverse stick shot and shortly after he bagged a second via a penalty corner drag flick into the top right hand corner. Civica could do no wrong. On 13 minutes it was 3-0 as Will Hearne slotted home after one of his trademark solo runs and four minutes later Musgrave’s cross-circle right to left drag flick made it four.

The Abbeydale goal machine still wasn’t finished and Tristan Gilbody added a fifth on 20 minutes.

Seven minutes later Sanderson’s penalty stroke was saved by the keeper but by then the match was well and truly over.

Tigers scored their consolation goal 11 minutes into the second half and although Civica never hit the heights of their opening salvo Roper managed to complete his hat-trick.

Leek top the league by one point followed by Hallam, who are level on points with Durham but have a vastly superior goal difference. Then come Doncaster and Olton, both on 21 points, and Deeside Ramblers, on 18, but with a game in hand.

Civica travel to Deeside on Sunday for a clash that will feature a battle of the division’s top scorers.

Roper has now moved to the top of the North Conference scorers list with 13 goals, one ahead of Deeside’s penalty corner specialist Ali Ghanzafar, and the Hallam hit-man is also joint second top scorer in the league behind Tom Carson of Exeter University, on 15 goals, and level with Johannes Kloess of Southgate.