We go around the grounds in the FA Vase

Goal­keep­ing mas­ter­class thwarts Ca­su­als

The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - By Gary Ha­zle­hurst

ROMULUS edged past lower-ranked hosts Wolver­hamp­ton Ca­su­als but had keeper Tyrell Belford to thank for their place in the next round.

Luke Richards’ 24th-minute header was enough to set­tle this in­trigu­ing Mid­lands en­counter, but Romulus chair­man Keith Higham ad­mit­ted the MFL Premier Divi­sion side were for­tu­nate to get through with Belford earn­ing the plau­dits for a string of fine saves.

“We have def­i­nitely got away with one there,” Higham con­fessed. “If the home side had scored two goals late on, we couldn’t have com­plained. Over the 90 min­utes, they were the bet­ter side and played some ex­cel­lent foot­ball at times.

“Tyrell Belford is a good keeper and he made the dif­fer­ence to­day.”

It was the home side that had the first op­por­tu­nity when a cross from Ben Tilbury was missed in front of goal by Kieran Whit­taker and the Romulus de­fence hacked clear.

At the other end, Tay­lor Allen caused the Ca­su­als prob­lems with pin­point de­liv­ery from the left.

Both sides were forced into early sub­sti­tu­tions with Ash­ley Evans and Mikkel Hirst suf­fer­ing in­juries and then, with 11 min­utes on the clock, Roms went close to mak­ing the break­through when an Allen cor­ner was cleared to the edge of the box where Si­mon Wil­liams con­nected but sent his vol­ley inches wide.

Allen was again the provider two min­utes later but this time Josh Wil­lis missed the tar­get with his vol­ley, some­thing he was guilty of again soon af­ter.

The first shot on tar­get came from the hosts, an ac­ro­batic scis­sor kick from Kieron Miller that was saved by the legs of Belford, but it was Romulus who bagged the al­limpor­tant goal in the 24th minute.

Allen brought the ball out of de­fence and found Chad Degville-Cross on the right. His pin­point cen­tre was met by Lke Richards who guided his header past Tom White­house in the Cassies goal.

Richards could have made it two on the half-hour mark but headed wide from Degville-Cross.

Ca­su­als did have a chance to level be­fore the break but even though Whit­taker was through on goal, he could find no way past the bril­liant Belford, who came off his line to make the save.

This game may have been short on goals but there was no short­age of chances as both sides looked to bag their place in the draw for the next round.

Cassies keeper White­house saved well at his near post late in the half be­fore the West Mid­lands League hosts went close at the start of the sec­ond half when Miller got in be­hind the Roms de­fence only to blaze his ef­fort over the bar.

That was to be some­thing of a theme for the Wolver­hamp­ton side as Whit­taker also squan­dered a glo­ri­ous chance to level when he shot over af­ter the vis­i­tors’ de­fence had again been sliced open.

With time run­ning out, Tilbury had a clear op­por­tu­nity to bring the game level but again it was the ex­pe­ri­enced for­mer Swin­don Town and Nuneaton Town keeper Belford who came to his side’s res­cue with an ex­cel­lent save.

Even in de­feat, Ca­su­als man­ager Dean Gill ad­mit­ted he was de­lighted with his side’s dis­play against a team from the league above.

“I’m ex­tremely pleased with the per­for­mance,” the Cassies boss said. “I could ask no more of the lads.

“If we had won 4-1 or 5-1 they couldn’t have com­plained – I couldn’t be any prouder.

“We have had four one-onones from the penalty spot and the keeper has made fine saves.

“To a man, Romulus have come off the pitch and said we de­served more. It shows the class of Romulus on the whole as a club.”

PIC­TURE: Garry Grif­fiths

KANE AND ABLE: Ca­su­als’ Kane Cork, in green, shields the ball from Sheikh Bar­row while Luke Richards heads home the only goal of the game, in­set

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