MATCH REPORT | Fifteen-minute spell undoes Essendon Royals hard work in Clifton Hill loss

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Essendon Royals fell to a disappointing loss at home to FC Clifton Hill on Saturday, despite a promising fight back.

The Royals fought back from 1-0 down to a 2-1 lead, but couldn’t hold on as Clifton Hill found another level to secure a 4-2 win.

Essendon started the game well and looked the more likely of the two sides to open the scoring with Davey Van't Schip, Joel Nikolic and Graham Kelly proving a handful for the Clifton Hill defence.

Clifton Hill weathered the early storm and the game soon became scrappy as both teams looked to gain some serious control over the game.

The opening goal eventually came from the penalty spot following a handball in the Essendon Royals box, which was coolly converted by Clifton Hill's Andrew Doig.

Andre Jannese went the right way but could not get a hand on it to diver the spot-kick wide of the goal.

The Royals produced a spirited fight back, with Kelly particularly dangerous with his fine touch and exquisite dribbling ability, eventually winning a foul on the edge of the box.

Kelly whipped the ball goalwards and the ball was assisted on it's way in via a Clifton Hill defender to send the teams into the break on level pegging at 1-1.

Once again, it was the Royals who started the second half the strongest as the game started to open up with both teams chasing a winner.

Van't Schip scored his first goal for the club when he buried his one-on-one opportunity after 56 minutes to put the Royals 2-1 up.

A situation that looked so promising for Vaughan Coveny's team soon turned into a nightmare.

Clifton Hill equalised after 60 minutes and made it 3-2 nine minutes later through Matthew Thorne, before Doig sealed his brace after 74 minutes to seal a disastrous 15-minute spell for the home side, which turned the match on its head.

In the earlier game, Essendon Royals' reserves team produced a dominant display to defeat Clifton Hill 4-0.

The Royals were dominant throughout but had to wait until deep into the first-half to score their first goal through young James Romito.

The under-18 graduate capped his reserves game with a goal when he held his nerve to tuck the ball away from a long free-kick despite the pressure from the on-rushing goalkeeper after 32 minutes.

Anthony Orlando made it 2-0 after 44 minutes before a second-half Josh Tabone double secured the 4-0 scoreline.

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