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Royals Match Report

Second Half Determination Clinches it for Royals
Royals 3-2 Shrewsbury Junior Colts (League, 02-11-08)
(Moffat, Hearle, Lewis)

Royals came away from the Meadow today with the points and will be hugely relieved that they did so, after a below par first half performance. In winning this game they maintain the pressure on the top two teams in the league. Coming from behind twice, their second half performance was much improved and enough to see off their opponents, with a winning goal 3 minutes from time.

The first half saw the Royals playing with the wind behind their backs and they started with a 3-1-4-2 formation. Despite the strong breeze, they failed to take advantage and the 3 man defence struggled with the pace of the Shrewsbury strikers. Shrewsbury took control of the midfield and were able to provide plenty of service to their forwards.

Shrewsbury went ahead on one of these very occasions. Winning the ball in midfield they shrugged of the Royals' challenges and some neat passing saw their striker with the easiest of chances to make the score 0-1.

Royals battled to get back into the game and came close on 2 or 3 occasions, the best chance being when Al-Houbani broke out of defence and used his speed down the right wing. As he cut in towards goal, he was fouled just outside the area, preventing him from getting his shot in. Hearle sent over the resulting free kick, but it was cleared by the Shrewsbury defence.

Royals' equaliser came from Moffat 10 minutes from half time. He received the ball half way inside the Shrewsbury half, from a quickly taken Green free kick. Running forward he took it past the defender and with goalkeeper approaching hit it hard and high enough into the top of the goal.

Shortly before half time a lapse in concentration gave Shrewsbury the lead again. The ball was won down the right side of the field and a cross put in from a tight angle. With Keugler already committed to going towards the approaching winger, the cross went over his head and the Shrewsbury striker had an easy task to head home.

At half time Leech replaced Weynberg and Agnew replaced Lewis to change the formation to 4-1-4-1. Royals seemed happier playing with the 4 man defence and started playing with more confidence in midfield.

Hearle and Fielding ran tirelessly down their wings and also contributed to defending when necessary. Smith came close after 12 minutes when he saw his shot well saved by the Shrewsbury keeper. However it was Hearle who got the equaliser after a pass from Moffat found him in some space. He advanced towards the goal as as the keeper came out to narrow the angle he chipped the ball over his head and into the goal.

Royals were gaining confidence now and much of the time was spent in their opponents half. Shrewsbury did have one excellent chance to take the lead again and with Keugler beaten, Green came to the rescue heading off the line.

Lewis was re-introduced with 15 minutes left, to replace Smith as the sole striker.

With the final whistle approaching it looked as though the points would be shared. However with 3 minutes to go Lewis scored a wonderful goal. The ball was put through on the right hand side and the Royals' striker raced against the opposing defender to get to it. He just managed to get a shot in from a tight angle and the ball went over the keeper's head into the goal. His shot resulted in a blow to the head so he was taken off as a precaution.

A tough game, against a physical side and Royals can be pleased with their efforts today, particularly in the second half.

Team: Keugler, Green, Al-Houbani, Baker, Weynberg (Leech 35), Hearle, Moffat, Miles, Fielding, Lewis (Agnew 35), Smith


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