Thursday, 27 December 2012

Report: Market Drayton Town 1-0 Romulus - NPL Div One South

Marcus Brown

IT summed up Romulus’ season perfectly.

A performance that wasn’t a million miles from what was required, wasted chances and questionable refereeing, but still no goals and no points for Richard Evans’ relegation battlers.

With just one defender on the pitch, the Roms were stoic in their resistance against a hard working Market Drayton side on a heavy, sloping Greenfields pitch.

Liam Roberts, the Roms keeper on loan from Walsall, stood out by making a handful of vital saves early in the second half before the visitors kicked into gear and steadily found the cohesion that Evans craved.

However, despite Ashley Jackson seeing his effort somehow spooned off the line by Paul McMullen and Marcus Brown having a cast iron penalty waved away, Roms could not find a way through.

And even when the most glorious of chances fell to new boy Luke Keen, who sprang the offside trap to face Drayton keeper Andrew Pryce one-on-one from 8 yards, a moment’s hesitancy before trying to pass to Brown wasted the opportunity. Visiting fans didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Evans’ men were left chasing the game after an error at the other end that left the crowd bemused. A ball sprayed from right to left was aimed for lively Drayton winger Rob Stevenson with stand-in right back and captain Marcus Jackson unnecessarily crashing into his adversary as the ball seemed set to run out of play.

After consulting his assistant, referee Steve Mycock pointed to the spot with Martyn Davies coolly slotting home from 12 yards on the stroke of half time.

But Mycock further angered the men from Coles Lane with an inconsistent performance, allowing cynical play from Drayton captain Nicky Porter to go unpunished before Brown’s ankle was kicked in the penalty area by McMullen after the break. There was no penalty though, despite the returning Roms goalgetter sporting a bleeding ankle.

It would be easy to blame the referee for the defeat, but in fairness to the hosts they hit the post in the opening exchanges and dominated the opening 20 minutes before Roberts saved well from Matt Johnson, Stevenson and Craig Ryan in quick succession early in the second half.

The Roms had plenty of pressure and chances from there but were laboured and never truly laid siege on the Drayton goal. On another day, they may have earned a point, but the second half display was encouraging enough to believe that Romulus’ recent signings will gel and help them to turn the corner.

Graham Deakin adds Conference North pedigree while Luke Keen, misfiring at the moment, has a reputation for goals at this level with Atherstone Town and Rugby Town. Marcus Brown, who plundered 25 goals in the Roms’ opening Northern Premier League season will also be a handful when back in full flow.

With the talent Romulus possess, they will surely improve on a record of just 20 league goals this season, currently eight less than the next lowest in the First Division South.

And with Richard Munday to return alongside dependable defender Liam Francis, the panic button should be left alone.  

With the tenacity shown since their formation as a boy’s club in 1979, it always used to be said around the Midlands that you should never rule the Roms out. Despite this game going against the nomadic club there were still plenty of reasons to back that up. There is fight in the young dog yet.

MARKET DRAYTON TOWN: Pryce, Jones (D Proffitt 64), Connor (Ting 76), Swetnam, McMullen, Blake, Porter, Johnson, Ryan, Davies (S Proffitt 71), Stevenson. Unused sub: Cooke.

Goal: Davies (p) 45.

ROMULUS: Roberts, M Jackson, Ravenhill, O’Callaghan, Francis, Deakin, Walker, Keen (Gregory 81), Brown, A Jackson, Amory. Unused subs: Stone, Hadley, Meakin-Richards, Exall (g/k).

STAR MAN: Rob Stevenson (Market Drayton Town)

Constant thorn in the experienced Marcus Jackson’s side and his chasing of a lost cause won the penalty that decided this clash. Equally adept at cutting inside to shoot and providing ammunition from the left, he made the difference in generally poor match. 

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