Royals went into their match against Meole Brace Colts today knowing
that a victory would put some light between them and the third place
side. Always a difficult place to play, the conditions were not
conducive to play football. The pitch was uneven and a cold wind was
blowing from one end to the other, giving the team with the wind
behind them an advantage.
Royals knew what they had to do to give themselves the best chance
of winning this game. They had to play simple football, pass the
ball quickly and be prepared to get stuck in.
Lewis and Weynberg were both missing from the side that played last
week and Watts was recalled at right back.
The game was a physical affair with the size and strength of Meole
Brace's defence making it difficult for lone striker Fielding to
penetrate. However the combined Royals' midfield of Leech and Moffat
ensured that Royals enjoyed much possession, despite playing against
the wind in the first half.
Indeed it was the Royals who took the lead after 15 minutes after
Hearle sent a threatening corner high into the 5 yard area. The
keeper went to catch the ball, but pressure from Royals' players saw
him spill the ball into the goal.
Royals held onto their lead until one minute before half time. A
free kick was awarded about 25 yards out from the goal and the
beautifully struck shot flew into the roof of the net past the
The teams went in at half time with the score at 1-1. Agnew replaced
Miles at this stage, moving into right back, allowing Watts to move
Seven minutes into the second half, Royals made it 2-1 after centre
forward Fielding fired home after a scrambled clearance fell at his
feet on the edge of the area.
Royals needed to tighten things up now to prevent their opponents
from getting back into the game. However for the next 15 or so
minutes Meole Brace dug deep and started to control the game. All of
a sudden Royals looked scrappy and jaded. Several Meole attacks were
scrambled clear. 15 minutes into the half, they equalised with a
super header, powerfully headed home directly from a corner.
This spurred Meole Brace on and they continued to threaten. Royals
became frustrated and gave possession away cheaply. Players were
trying to do too much, instead of keeping things simple.
With 12 minutes remaining, winger Baker made the score 3-2, after
his tireless work down the left side with Smith paid dividends.
Hearle crossed the ball over and Baker was lurking at the back post
to steer the ball home for his first goal in a Royals' shirt.
Meole nearly equalised again with another well struck long range
free kick, very similar to their first goal. This time however
Keugler pulled off a superb save, just flicking the ball onto the
crossbar and over for a corner.
Royals fourth goal came with 5 minutes remaining. A well worked move
saw Agnew cross the ball in towards goal. Moffat battled for and won
the ball and drilled the ball into the far corner through the
crowded goal area.
Final score 4-2, and whilst not quite as fluent as last week, Royals
showed that they are very much back on form after the winter break.
Team: Keugler, Watts, Green, Al-Houbani,
Smith, Hearle, Moffat, Miles (Agnew 35), Leech, Baker, Fielding