Royals 100% record for 2009 came to an end today at the hands of
local rivals Meole Brace Juniors. Much hype had been made of this
re-arranged game, as several of the players knew each other from the
old Stoke City sponsored Shrewsbury School Development Centre, and
the two ex Royals that Meole Brace had playing for them. A lot was
The game started fairly evenly, with both teams looking to push
forward and create chances. Meole were playing with two strikers,
whilst the Royals played in a 4-5-1 formation.
Royals looked good going forward, using their wingers to good
advantage. However the Meole defence were solid at the back and they
frustrated the Royals attacks.
The breakthrough came after 16 minutes when Leech won the ball in
midfield, and found Moffat to the right. The Royals midfielder was
able to beat a defender and fire home from just outside the area,
into the far corner of the net, for a deserved 1-0 lead.
For the remainder of the first half, Meole had more of the
possession. Royals struggled to keep possession when they won the
ball, and tended to give it away cheaply to their opponents.
The teams went in at half time with the score at 1-0 and Royals were
told to tighten things up in the centre of the park. They were not
taking advantage of the extra man they had in midfield, and so were
not providing a decent supply to their forwards.
Meole started the second half full of determination and Royals were
on the back foot for a while. However as the second half progressed
they did have their chances. Leech came close when he saw his header
glance just off the crossbar. Hearle sent over a cross just out of
the reach of Fielding. Moffat shot just wide after a penetrating run
into the Meole penalty area.
At the other end Keugler dealt with everything tidily and commanded
his area well, with the defence seemingly able to deal with
everything that was thrown at them.
Ten minutes into the second half Meole equalised after
Carless-Turland came back to haunt. Royals failed to clear and he
turned quickly in the penalty area and fired home a loose ball past
the outstretched Keugler.
This equaliser spurred Meole Brace on, and Royals looked a fraction
of the team that had defeated Shrewsbury Juniors the previous week.
Their opponents were playing with confidence and 12 minutes later
deservedly took the lead after a goalmouth scramble. A shot was
scrambled away to the feet of a Meole player, who managed to put the
ball in the back of the net after the ball deflected off the
unfortunate Keugler on the floor.
With 7 minutes remaining it looked as though Royals would be
suffering their first defeat since November 2008. However they were
rescued by Moffat, who was sent on his way by Hearle to charge
forward into the Meole penalty area. His shot did enough to get past
the outstretched keeper.
Royals could have snatched a last minute winner but were thwarted by
a brilliant double save by the Meole keeper, firstly from Hearle and
then from Moffat again.
One point each then and a disappointing result for the Royals who
would have looking to get all three to maintain their pressure at
the top of the table.
Team: Keugler, Agnew, Green, Al-Houbani,
Smith, Miles, Hearle, Moffat, Leech, Fielding, Lewis (Baker 40) Sub
not used: Weynberg