Phil Roper proved once again that he’s very much the star of the show for Sheffield Hallam men’s first team.
Last season’s leading scorer has the skill and all round ability to cause chaos in opposing defences and set up chances either for himself or his teammates.
The goal-taker and goal-maker was in evidence against South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster when he turned last-action hero to grab a 3-2 win in the derby showdown at Town Fields.
It was the home side who broke the deadlock after 22 minutes when David Dykes’ shot from the top of the circle was miskicked by Hallam keeper Simon Hujwan. He sliced the ball onto his other kicker and it trickled over the line.
Hallam responded when Roper dribbled through almost the entire Doncaster defence and set up new boy Martin Sutherland whose reverse stick shot whistled past the post but five minutes from the break they bagged an equaliser when that man Roper was on hand to power-flick the ball home.
Doncaster regained the lead two minutes after the restart when Jonathan Redfern’s penalty corner was deflected over the diving Hujwan by Shelley. Again Hallam replied and again it was Roper who did the damage.
His close control in the circle completely bamboozled the home defence and when his cross finally came it reached Adam Harriman at the far post who tapped the ball in for his first ever National League goal in only his second appearance.
With seven minutes left, Hallam’s David Goodfield received a five minute yellow card suspension but Doncaster failed to take advantage and it was the Abbeydale side who plundered the points in the final minute. They were awarded a controversial penalty corner and Rhys Gowman’s hard, fast delivery was superbly drag flicked into the top left hand corner by Roper.
The result lifted Hallam into second place in the North Conference table just behind Bowden, who were relegated from the Premier Division last season, and ahead of Durham University and Belper. Hallam travel to meet new boys Wakefield – and former player Danny Berry – on Saturday (5pm start).
Hallam squad: Simon Hujwan (GK), Tom Barratt, Alex Bailey (capt), Duncan Longson, Dave Goodfield, Phil Roper, Tom Feasby, Brendan Creed, Joe Bradley, Gareth Furlong, Roy Scott, Saul Halladay, Rhys Gowman, Martin Sutherland, Adam Harriman.