Arion Grantham & District Sunday League
Co-op Funeral Care Charity Shield
Green Man Ropsley 10
Royal Queen 1
A mild October morning at Ropsley, soft underfoot and sun shining, brought perfect conditions for the much anticipated clash of Man versus Queen in the first round of the Charity Shield.
The game started lively with both teams striving for an early goal and the deadlock being broken by centre back Elk who put a strong header in the Ropsley net from a poorly defended corner at the 15 minute mark.
Ropsley responded, piling on the pressure in the following 10 minutes, but the Royal Queen soaked it up using the counter-attack and long ball well.
That was until Ropsley man-of-the-match Tom Figura was fouled on the edge of the visitors’ box. Kemal Yenibertiz stepped up and hit the free kick low and hard past the outstretched keeper into the bottom left corner to level the scores.
It seemed both teams would go in neck-and-neck at the break until onrushing Ropsley right back John Turner put a pinpoint cross over the keeper to George Petrou whose header hitt the post. Figgy’s predator-like reactions sealed it to put Ropsley 2-1 up at half time.
The second half got under way and with both teams still in the running – the next goal was vital. The fans did not have long to wait, as Petrou was shoved to the ground in the box by a clumsy challenge from Queen’s left back and awarded a penalty. Mark Gray stepped up to smash it home and continue his unblemished Ropsley spot kick record.
Queen battled well but could not seem to amount anything of real serious threat, whilst their frustration rose.
Mounting Ropsley pressure made for two quick goals in succession, firstly a composed finish from Figura after linking up well with Yenibertiz, followed by Tom Hill finding himself in far too much space in Queen’s penalty box to aggressively strike and open the floodgates.
A penalty shout from the Queen was waved on by the referee as Luke Perberdy went to ground.
Shawn Matongo made it six for Ropsley when a chipped crossed to the back post from Figura struck him in the groin for an unconventional finish. Frazer Wingad found the gap between the keeper’s hands and feet with a blistering low strike from 40 yards out for Ropsley’s seventh of the game.
With looks of disbelief from the manager and crowd, Turner made a mazy run from the back, one-twos en route, to tap in Ropsley’s eighth.
Lewis Bremner’s day at the office went from bad to worse when a 35-yard back pass slipped under his studs to see him scrabbling to no avail as the ball rolled over the line.
Frustration mounted further when Queen’s player-manager Birch found the book for dissent after his bolt-like pace took him off-side.
Meanwhile, Ropsley player-manager McClory showed that it does not always take talent and ability to score, when his scuffed shot hit the inside of the post to take his side into double figures.