Romulus were looking to build some momentum yesterday evening against Tividale, having won their opening match of the season at Bewdley Town 4-1 on Saturday. Tividale were looking to get a result following Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home against Atherstone Town and were looking to build on the positives of that performance.
There was a sense of anticipation around Castle Vale Stadium prior to kick off with supporters looking forward to the season ahead and the opening home game of the season under new manager Neil Tooth.
Team sheets were handed out 15 minutes prior to the match getting underway. This was useful for identifying the new Romulus and Tividale line-ups as both clubs have new managers, with the visitors having Stuart How as their new first-team manager.
The atmosphere in the ground was mainly positive before kick-off and this added to the match day experience.
The starting line up for Romulus involved a mixture of new signings and key players from last season. Overall, it is a good blend of youth and experience. Lewis Gwilliams started in goal and Stephen Palmer played in midfield for the Roms. Both players have considerable pedigree at step four with Boldmere St Michaels and Sutton Coldfield Town and are new signings for the club.
The formation looked like a 4-2-3-1 with Luke Keen being the main striker and playing as the number nine. Cameron Lee was the skipper for the Roms and played alongside Dean Morris in central defence. Both players were brilliant throughout last season and key retentions for the season ahead.
Tividale’s starting line-up included Louis Connor as the starting goalkeeper who had a good game against Atherstone Town at the weekend. The formation appeared to be a 4-2-3-1 with Dom Dell leading the line as the number nine and being the skipper for the team. Joe Burroughs and Taryll Davis started in central defence with Jakob Burroughs playing as the holding midfielder.
The opening 20 minutes of the match were eventful with both teams having a number of chances. Tividale had an early chance with Dom Dell getting into a good position near the edge of the box before shooting straight at Lewis Gwilliams. Romulus opened the scoring minutes later with Luke Keen scoring from a header in the box in the 4th minute to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Stephen Palmer had a brilliant strike moments later that was well saved by Louis Connor in the 6th minute. The save was a crucial moment in the first half as it allowed the visitors to settle into the match and build a bit of momentum as the half went on.
None the less, Romulus were still building good attacks throughout the first half with Jordan Francis standing out on the left wing and making things happen for the Roms. He constantly delivered good balls into the box for the hosts.
A player who stood out throughout the first half for Tividale was Dom Dell who had a few half chances for the visitors and was linking up play well going forwards prior to the equaliser. He managed to score from a corner through a shot at the far post in the 22nd minute to make it 1-1.
The remaining period of the first half was cagey and an interesting battle in a competitive match. Jakob Burroughs played an important role for Tividale in holding midfield and helped the visitors grow into the game as the half went on and build a bit of confidence.
Tividale had a good chance to take the lead on the half-hour mark when Ryan Snape had a shot that was tipped over the bar by Lewis Gwilliams in the Romulus goal. The hosts managed to hold on to Tividale growing into the match and went into HT 1-1 in an intriguing match.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with Romulus managing to take the lead early and settle into it. Jordan Francis was on hand to score and put the ball into an empty net following a shot that hit the post and came to the winger. He calmly finished into the bottom left corner to make it 2-1.
The hosts managed to score again to make it 3-1 in the 64th minute when Fin Douglas played a brilliant ball to Luke Keen who finished well into the bottom right corner. It was an excellent passage of play from Romulus that underlined what they can do going forward this season.
Just as Romulus were starting to control the match, Tividale managed to get a goal back. Substitute Joe Hawkins scored from a corner in the 67th minute to set up a nervy finish. Romulus responded by creating a brilliant chance of their own with Harry Goode striding forward and playing a quality through ball to Luke Keen who had a shot on target well saved by Louis Connor in the Tividale goal in the 71st minute.
Tividale started to put a sustained run of pressure on the Romulus goal throughout the next 15 minutes of the match with the hosts looking to hold on and get a result. The visitors managed to score a late equaliser in the 85th minute through an excellent header by substitute Ewen Edwards following a good cross into the box to make it 3-3.
Following the equaliser Tividale were going forward with purpose looking to get the win with Romulus defender Cameron Lee doing a great job at the back and heading key balls away from danger when it mattered for the hosts late on.
As Romulus were able to withstand the pressure, the match looked like it was heading for an eventful draw until a dramatic finish to the match in the final few minutes. A moment of inspiration from Stephen Palmer deep into injury time gave Romulus a huge win following an outstanding strike from the edge of the box that sent the home supporters ecstatic.
It was a memorable way to open the season at CV stadium for Romulus in one of the matches of the season so far.
There were a number of players that stood out for Romulus and contributed to the team’s result last night. Dean Morris did an underrated job at the back and constantly read situations well to head balls away when it mattered. The partnership with Cameron Lee at the back looks promising for Roms supporters. It also offers a bit of continuity from last season with both players knowing each other's game well.
Lewis Gwilliams looked good in goal and made some key saves for the hosts such as the save from Ryan Snape before half-time. Luke Keen looked good as the number nine and was getting into the right positions and putting the key chances away.
Despite the defeat, there were a lot of positives for Tividale. Dom Dell was effective as the number nine and linked up the play well for the visitors. Another player who had a good game was Callum Gillies at left-back who defended well and put good crosses into the box. Louis Connor also had a positive game as the goalkeeper and made some big saves to keep the visitors in the match. Joe Burroughs also looked good at the back for Tividale and was heading balls away from danger throughout the match.
Both teams look set for exciting seasons and are worth following throughout the season from August to the end of April
FT score: Romulus 4-3 Tividale
Man of the match: Luke Keen
Match Report written by Rhys Beardmore for the Midland Football League
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