VETERAN defender Paul Roast is set to relaunch his non-league career at Christchurch – by becoming the club’s new goalkeeper.
The 36-year-old Wimborne Town legend steps straight into the firing line when Priory travel to AFC Portchester tomorrow (3pm).
Roast made more than 400 appearances during 14 years with the Magpies but relinquished his role as player/assistant-manager over the summer due to the travel involved at Southern League level.
Hurn Bridge boss Adie Arnold, who successfully converted Chris Lynch from centre-half to goalkeeper during his time at Verwood Town, revealed he had considered utilising wannabe stopper Roast between the sticks for some time.
And with regular custodian Jamie Bray ruled out by an injury picked up in Friday’s feisty 4-2 win over Lymington, the manager has high hopes for his new recruit.
Arnold told the Daily Echo: “We have been shipping a lot of goals and I knew of Roasty’s intentions so it had been in my mind.
“Now the opportunity is there for him to make the position his own. I have done my homework and understand he was very good as Wimborne’s reserve keeper and could prove to be a quality addition given the chance.
“It was a brave decision to do it with Chris Lynch but that worked out perfectly and with his background and reputation in the game, I was always quite prepared to give Roasty the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Arnold marvelled at the maturity of hotshot Jack Lovell who had a hand in each of his side’s goals against Lymo.
Lovell had already rifled Priory ahead when he was caught with a high elbow having clashed with visiting keeper Stuart Williamson after half an hour.
Referee Con Da Costa eventually dismissed the custodian and pointed to the spot with Mark Smith slamming home the spot kick.
Smith then scored a second penalty before half-time after Lovell was upended by replacement keeper Michael Edgar.
In the second half, Lymo hit back through Brad Strickland but Lovell sealed the points with a cool finish 11 minutes from time, rendering Sam Floyd’s late free kick academic.
And at the end of an action-packed evening which saw four goalkeepers take to the field, the manager was quick to praise his protégé for holding his nerve.
Arnold, who said he didn’t see Williamson’s indiscretion, told the Daily Echo: “It was a typical derby, it got a bit feisty and we had to keep our discipline and shape.
“They (Lymington) lost their heads a little bit and I was delighted with how we reacted, especially Jack Lovell. He led the line on his own, took a few challenges and just got on with the game.
“A couple of seasons ago he might have got himself sent off in that situation and I felt we saw him grow from a boy to a man with that performance.”
The victory saw Christchurch pouch their first points of the season having opened with four straight league defeats.
Priory: Bray (Fawcett, 75), Wilkinson, Steer, Clark, Dodd, Cullen, Smith, Hampton-Brown, Lovell (Vining, 84), Saxby, Owen (Proudley, 82). Unused subs: Leonard, Barnes.