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Royals Match Report

Royals command first half but scrape by in second
Royals 3-2 Meole Brace Colts (League, 18-01-09)

Royals must have been pinching themselves as they warmed up for this league match against Meole Brace Colts. Were they actually playing football again, or was it a dream. After a lay off of nearly 2 months the weather and pitch were both in excellent shape and conducive to playing football at the highest level.

Sickness to goalkeeper Keugler meant that Baker took his place between the sticks for the first time this season, with Leech being available to strengthen the heart of defence.

The first half saw the Royals take control of the game and they enjoyed large amounts of possession in their opponents half. The enforced break seemed to have done them good and although their fitness was perhaps not as high as normal, they were able to pass the ball about with ease.

There was also a marked improvement in the team's hunger for the ball. It made good watching, seeing the players' determination in fighting for any loose ball.

Royals' first goal came midway through the first half after they were awarded a corner. Hearle sent over the cross which went straight through the mix of defenders and attackers. Green was ready to run in at the far post and he was able to volley home from close range to make the score 1-0.

Five minutes later Hearle got on the scoresheet after a well worked move from wide on the left. Smith found himself near the corner flag under pressure. He managed to squeeze the ball between 2 defenders to Moffat also out wide. Moffat then sent over a cross which Hearle met and was able to fire home to make the score 2-0.

Shortly after that Meole Brace had their best chance of the first half. After breaking away, their winger sent over a cross that went over keeper Baker. The ball was headed goalwards, but first Green and then Agnew came to the rescue and Royals managed to clear the danger.

The second half saw Miles take over in goal for the Royals. It also saw an increase in pressure from their opposition. Whereas in the first half the Royals were enjoying more of the possession, in the second half Meole Brace did.

On several occasions Royals found themselves in trouble in their own penalty area, but they managed to prevent a goal until 12 minutes into the half. Several long balls were sent through for the pacy forwards to run on to and eventually they were able to latch on to one of them and shoot home past the outstretched Miles.

They now believed that they could get back into he game and 7 minutes later they got their equaliser which was almost a carbon copy of the first goal. In a one on one with Miles, their striker kept his cool and shot home into the corner of the goal.

Royals looked ragged and they would have to dig deep if they were win this game.

Then with 12 minutes remaining Smith found the ball at his feet and passed out wide to Fielding on the edge of the area. The Meole Brace keeper came out towards Royals' winger who coolly chipped the ball over the keepers head and it just had enough pace on it to cross the line.

With 5 minutes left, Royals earned a penalty after Smith was brought down on the edge of the area. Green stepped up to take the spot kick but the keeper pulled off a great save to deny him.

Final score 3-2 and whilst Royals will be be pleased to win the points, they will need to find some consistency in the second half in order to match their first half performances.

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


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