Romulus 2 Shepshed Dynamo 2

Monday 9th April 2012
Romulus 2 Shepshed Dynamo 2
Evo-Stik League Northern Premier Division 1 South
At: Coles Lane, Sutton Coldfield
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £7; Programme: £1 (28 pages)
Weather: rain
Attendance: 101
Duration: first-half: 45:13; second-half: 46:55

Shepshed Dynamo moved off the bottom of the Division 1 South table thanks to a 2-2 draw earned with a late equaliser scored by substitute Leighton Simmonds against third-from-bottom Romulus who finished with ten men. The game came to life early on when Shepshed took the lead through a Thomas Maddison penalty and Romulus hit back with goals from James Reid either side of half-time to edge in front. Cameron Lee was sent off just before Simmonds’ goal and the news that second-from-bottom Quorn had lost sent the many vociferous visiting fans back to Leicestershire in a very happy mood.

Saving a return visit to Coles Lane to see Romulus play a home league game ‘for a rainy day’ was an appropriate description of today as several hours of continuous rain influenced my choice of fixture. I had planned to head up the M6 until I knew that Northwich Villa was off and St Helens Town was subject to a late inspection when the match referee arrived. My gut feeling that many of the local games could suffer late postponements persuaded me to play safe and I headed to the artificial pitch at Sutton Coldfield Town FC for the second time this year. The place was certainly a lot greener than it was two months ago!

I’ve always liked Coles Lane and particularly the main stand which, according to Kerry Miller’s The History of Non-League Football Grounds, was purchased from Manchester City in 1956. The ground also has two separate areas of covered standing and some (now unused) terracing hidden away.

Romulus (20th with 34 points from 39 games), who I saw lose an FA Cup tie against Bridgnorth at Chasetown FC back in September, have had a ‘disappointing season on the field for the first team’. The programme editorial continues to describe this season as ‘our first season of this kind since going Saturdays. We will all come back stronger next season’. They’ll probably finished 2011/12 just one place above the relegation zone.

Thinking about the visitors, Shepshed (22nd with 24 points from 39 games) lost 4-1 at home to Stamford on Good Friday (a game I watched at The Dovecote) and now can’t avoid finishing in the relegation zone. However, they could gain a reprieve from relegation at the expense of Quorn (currently 21st also on 24 points) by finishing second from bottom.

Romulus (in red and white stripes, red shorts and socks) got the game underway defending the car park end in the first half. I sat at the back of the stand in the company of fellow groundhopper Fred from Wombourne who visited one of my local sides, Brocton, on Saturday.

However, Shepshed quickly went on the attack and won a 5th minute penalty, awarded by the assistant referee when Romulus goalkeeper Lewis Exall brought down Ndricim Krasniqi. I felt Exall was lucky to stay on the field, let alone escape a booking, and Tom Maddison confidently fired home from the spot.

Romulus were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Robert Evans by Rob Brewer 20 yards out and Cameron Lee narrowly missed the far top left corner with a left-foot curler (picured right). The home sides continued to go close and James Martin got down to hold a low 15-yard shot from James Reid

Like Good Friday, Shepshed received plenty of vocal support and they were almost cheering a second goal midway through the half. Krasniqi hit a rising snap shot which rebounded off the bar.

Romulus thought they’d equalised in the 24th minute but Robert Evans sidefooted home from an offside position after being fed by Ashley Jackson. They didn’t have to wait long for a goal, a minute in fact, when Reid latched onto a ball down the left, held off the challenge of a defender and fired into the far side of the net.

A group of around 20 Shepshed fans moved into the stand for the start of the second half and continued to vocally support their side.

Some eight minutes after the restart, Romulus had the ball in the net again. Martin parried a well-struck deflected shot from Jackson from which Charisma Agbonlahor, brother of Aston Villa’s Gabby, slotted home the rebound. Once again, the flag was raised for offside.

Reid missed a sitter just after the hour mark when he miskicked at the far post but made amends in the 66th minute with his second goal of the game. Robert Evans’ long throw wasn’t cleared and Reid fired home a low angled shot into the far left corner of the net.

Could Romulus hang on to their lead and end of 12 league games without a win?

With time running out one Shepshed fan shouted that “we haven’t come here to lose”. Little did he know how the game would end.

Lee picked up a booking for a foul on David Boafa, who was unable to continue, and received a second one in the 88th minute for a needless challenge on Krasniqi. The ten men of Romulus had 2½ minutes to hang on and Shepshed won two corners in quick succession. From the second, delivered by Maddison, substitute Leighton Simmonds hammered the ball into the back of the net. The visitors even had a chance to win the game. Shaun Martin headed over from another Maddison corner in stoppage time.

At full-time, the Shepshed fans celebrated. Their team had ended a run of seven straight defeats and, as I walked back to the car, I heard another loud cheer coming from the stand. It could only have meant one thing – Quorn had lost so Shepshed had moved off the bottom of the table.

Romulus (red and white stripes / red / red): 1. Lewis Exall, 2. Robert Evans, 3. Cameron Lee, 4. Liam Francis, 5. Phil Male (capt), 6. Luke Edwards, 7. Charisma Agbonlahor, 8. Nathan Walker, 9. James Reid, 10. Curtis Wynter, 11. Ashley Jackson. Subs: 12. Nathan Blissett (for Edwards, 57), 14. Theo Robinson (for Agbonlahor, 57), 15. Joe Price (for Reid, 76), 16. Nathan Demonte (not used), 17. Gavin Day (not used). Manager: Richard Evans.

Shepshed Dynamo (yellow/black/yellow): 1. James Martin, 2. David Boafo, 3. Zeke Jenkins, 4. Chris White, 5. Rob Brewer, 6. Simon Hore, 7. Shaun Martin, 8. Tom Maddison, 9. Steve Chaplin (capt), 10. Jerome O’Connor, 11. Ndricim Krasniqi. Subs: 12. Jacob Sturgess (for Boafo, 83), 14. Rob Mulonga (not used), 15. Leighton Simmonds (for O’Connor, 59), 16. Carl Spencer (not used), 17. Justin Jenkins (not used). Player-manager: Chris White.

Referee: Daniel Meeson.
Assistants: David Critchlow and Kevin Allsopp.

0-1 Tom Maddison (5 pen)
1-1 James Reid (26)
2-1 James Reid (66)
2-2 Leighton Simmonds (89)

Romulus: Cameron Lee (YC, 81), Cameron Lee (YC/RC, 88)
Shepshed: none