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Royals Match Report

Royals form continues in the snow
Meole Brace Colts 2-4 Royals  (League, 01-02-09)

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 helpless Keugler.

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 into midfield.

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


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