|Date||Saturday 4th March 2017|
|Match||Aylesbury v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Sco Bridges, Neilsen (2), Castiglione (2), Powell,|
With main rivals Farnborough having their game called off today, this was effectively Royston’s game in hand and they were certainly keen to increase their tangible advantage. Aylesbury FC are currently third from bottom of the league, but had had two good recent results so were certainly not to be taken lightly.
The Crows strengthened their already impressive squad with the signing of ex-pro Scott Neilsen from Hemel Hempstead FC and he came straight into the starting line-up today. Gus Scott-Morriss also made a start today. There were no places in the match day squad today for Ryan Ingrey, Danny May and Dan Brathwaite.
The first twenty minutes of this match was mainly young winger Josh Castiglione marauding up the wing, causing all sorts of problems for his marker, and delivering either challenging crosses for his willing team-mates or making James Weatherill, in the Aylesbury goal, work extremely hard.
The first such effort was in the first minute as Castiglione got behind his opponent and crossed for John Frendo to connect well and Weatherill got the faintest but important touch to tip onto the bar and over.
Then Castiglione collected a long ball with a quality first touch, cut inside and curled an effort that again was palmed wide for another corner. The youngster followed up with another distance effort that went wide.
The Castiglione show continued with another run and cross and then a similar top quality touch, run and shot that brought another decent save on twenty minutes.
It was noticeable that the referee was quick to blow his whistle to stop the game often when both sides would have enjoyed better movement if allowed to play on with suitable advantage.
The scoring was opened on 28 minutes with a penalty. Firstly, Scott Bridges was heftily shoved in the back that the referee strangely didn’t see as a clear foul and split seconds later Frendo was on the floor from a more innocuous challenge that the official did see as worthy of a spot kick. Bridges took the penalty and scored his 21st goal of the season with a firm placed shot left of the keeper. 0-1.
Royston doubled their advantage seven minutes later when more good work from Castiglione fed the ball to debutant Neilsen on the edge of the box who powered a shot through bodies, taking a slight deflection on the way, to find the net. 0-2.
The Crows had a two to nothing lead at half time.
The first ten minutes of the second half wasn’t pretty to watch as the Moles were working hard to stop the Crows re-finding their momentum – but their endeavours were halted as Royston scored their third and stifled any resistance, apart from the occasional foul and follow up spat, to go on to score three more.
Martel Powell was having a really good game and his closing down work was bringing chances for his team. On 59 minutes Powell closed down the central defenders, broke through and tapped the ball around the out-coming keeper, with the ball running away from him slightly, Castiglione took charge and slotted the ball in from a tight angle. 0-3.
Adam Murray got himself involved with a meaningless fracas that saw him receive his tenth booking of the season and results in a two-game ban and Steve Castle chose to make his first change removing Murray from the game sending on Ryan Frater for a straight swap on the hour mark.
Joe Welch made his only real meaningful save of the game making a good stop from a Moles free-kick on 71 minutes.
John Frendo was substituted for Matt Nolan on 72 minutes.
One minute later Powell got a deserved goal. Breaking through he demonstrated good strength holding off a challenge and put an on the run shot past Weatherill. 0-4.
Scott Bridges was also changed to protect him from further referee attention as he found himself increasingly embroiled in heated exchanges and Adam Watkins came on to replace the obviously incensed skipper on 74 minutes.
The fifth goal was scored on 84 minutes, as Watkins immediate became effective in this game setting up Castiglione who stretched to poke home his second of the game. 0-5.
The scoring was completed with more good link up play between Watkins and Castiglione and Watkins set up Neilsen to plant another well-placed finish in the back of the net to complete his own brace in his first game for the Crows. 0-6.
The game was ended and Royston had emphatically seized the three points with another dominant display. This sees them 14 points clear with games played now equal between the top four clubs – an enviable position to be in going in to the final run-in. However, it is a tough game next with a visit to perennial nemesis team Barton Rovers on Tuesday that will be another important game for the Crows.
Team: Welch, Towner, Scott-Morriss, Bridges Scott (Watkins), Murray (Frater), Bridges Stuart, Neilsen, Mentis, Frendo (Nolan), Powell, Castiglione.
Subs not used – Orlando-Young, Fehmi.