We go around the grounds in the FA Vase
Goalkeeping masterclass thwarts Casuals
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.”
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