Shrewsbury Juniors (League Cup,
Royals booked their place in the final of the League Cup
today after a thrilling match in which they beat league leaders
Shrewsbury Juniors by a single goal, at Russell's Meadow.
Royals went into this game as underdogs, with several players
carrying injuries. Hearle (hamstring), Green and Miles (thigh
strain), Keugler (groin strain), Moffat (sickness) were all less
than fully fit, but nevertheless started the game.
Royals won the toss and elected to play with the wind behind them in
the first half. The wind gave them an advantage and they enjoyed
much possession in their opponents half. Shrewsbury Juniors were
well known for their quick, one touch football, but Royals were able
to counteract that with dogged determination.
After just 10 minutes Hearle had to be replaced by Miles, as he was
clearly struggling with his injury. Fielding switched to right wing
to allow Miles to play in the centre of midfield with Moffat.
Five minutes after this enforced change, Royals scored the only goal
of the game. Fielding slipped the ball past his defender and sent
over low cross. The Shrewsbury keeper was only able to get a hand to
the ball, and Baker was lurking at the far post to knock home the
This spurred Shrewsbury on and they upped the pressure for the
remainder of the first half, with the Royals defence having to be at
their best to deal with this onslaught. They defended well though
and protected keeper Keugler so well, that he barely had a save to
The second half started with a driving cold rain at the faces of the
Royals. More pressure was lapped up by Royals' defence, in the most
difficult of conditions. It seemed that an equaliser would be coming
if Shrewsbury kept up this performance.
Their best chance came when Pryce ran on to a through ball and found
himself in a one on one situation with keeper Keugler. Keugler
bravely came out and smothered the ball at the feet of the
Royals had their chances in the second half too, the best of which
was when a free kick was awarded on the right hand side of the
pitch, just outside the penalty area. Green lined up the shot, which
went inches wide.
For much of the last 10 minutes Royals were on the back foot
defending deeply, but they still managed to keep the ball out, with
the final whistle eventually blowing after 3 minutes of added time.
A great game of football between two very good sides, with the
Royals showing that they can compete with the best sides in the
can now look forward to a cup final in their first season in the SJFL.
Team: Keugler, Agnew, Al-Houbani, Green, Smith,
Leech, Hearle (Miles 10), Moffat, Fielding, Baker, Lewis Sub: Watts.