Town Royals u18's win a cracker against Shawbury 5-3
Town win despite another slow start
Despite the pre-match warnings in the dressing room to start the game on the front foot, Town saw themselves going 2-0 down by conceding two sloppy goals early on to hand league leaders Shawbury the early advantage. A tactical switch saw Crook and O'Keefe swap wide positions and from this Sutton got back in the game, when a long ball from keeper Buttery found its way through to Crook who danced into the box before being brought down for a penalty, which he got up to cooly covert himself. Shortly after another good move out wide saw O'Keefe cut in from the right and play the retuning (from Rushall) Liam Puller in who finished in the corner of the keepers right hand post to make it 2-2.
Finally, Town were starting to impose themselves more on the game with greater possession and tightening up some of the gaps in the middle which Shawbury had exploited earlier in the half. Burgess, Siddhu and Tommy Taylor were started to get a better grip on the game and having won the ball in midfield played another good ball into Puller who finished well for his second of the game and put a much better scoreline of 3-2 to the home team than they looked like achieving after the first ten minutes. Hudson and Jackson at the back had coped pretty well with Shawbury's attacking threats, with both Kyron Taylor and Ollie Burns looking to get forward at every opportunity in support of the attack.
But just before the half-time whistle, the threat Shawbury had posed all half, of a quick counter attack, saw them break quickly down Sutton's left, which was exploited when Sutton players didn't track back quickly enough allowing Shawbury to equalise from a very good move. 3-3 at half time in half full of mixed emotions.
After some full and frank exchanges in the dressing room at half time there was no denying the character the team had shown for the second week running to get back into the game. But Town knew they need to start the second half much better than they had the first to stand any chance of taking all three points on the night. The game was fascinating with both teams going for it in the early stages and it was becoming an end to end encounter with a mix of good play and tough tackling from both sides. Town decided to freshen things up and made three changes with Mohammed Jammeh, Shermer-Hull and Carter coming on. Matty Hughes already on for the injured Elliot Hodson was covering everything at the back and playing well with new partner Carter also replacing Jackson who had also been playing well in the centre of the Sutton defence before having to be withdrawn with a slight muscle strain.
Sutton were building pressure and looking the more likely to score which they eventually did when a great through ball from Burgess to the Alex O'Keefe saw the Sutton forward out battle the Shawbury defender to take the ball into the box before finishing low into the bottom corner to put the Royals back in front. Shawbury rallied but found Sutton's defence resolute and Hughes in particular slamming the door shut whenever they threatened to get in behind.
Town were now the more dominant and pressuring all over; but Crook down the left was seeing a lot of the ball and made several threatening runs in behind the Shawbury defence and from one such run won a corner which saw the goal of the game. Burgess drifted unmarked into space outside the Shawbury penalty area and received a short corner and moving the ball inside onto his right foot unleashed an unstoppable shot into the corner which left the Shawbury keeper no chance to make it 5-3 and provide Town with some breathing space.
The game continued at pace with Shawbury looking to get back into it; but Sutton having shown real character in the first half to get back into the game, showed real composure to see out the game for a deserved victory. Shawbury also deserve great credit for their part in a thoroughly entertaining; but hard fought match.
Good luck to Shawbury for the remainder of the season and I'm sure we will be in for an equally tough encounter in the return game at their Ludlow ground.