|Date||Tuesday 15 October 2013|
|Match||Barton Rovers v Royston Town
|Competition||Red Insure Cup: First Round
The First Team travelled the relatively short distance to play Barton Rovers in the first round of the League Cup competition. The Barton line-up included a few ex-Crows so I am sure they would be keen to impress.
Once again the squad had been decimated with injuries and illness and Paul Attfield was noticeably short of bodies for this cup match. Under-18 youngster Conor Kilgallon was called up for his first team debut at left back and the 2010/11 Southern Premier Division top scorer (34), Craig Hammond was asked to play at centre-half alongside the versatile Sam Spencer.
The midfield and attack still had an impressive and exciting look about it – with Luke Robins making a welcome full match return – but the bench only saw a reserve keeper, Zach Binge, and the relatively inexperienced Billy Baird.
The first half was a committed and frantic affair with no goals scored but a lot of huff and puff from both sides trying to create goal scoring opportunities. The goalkeepers were the stars of this half, both being called upon to make a world class save each, with home team stopper, Grant Beckwith, producing a fine reaction save from a powerful – and deflected – 12 yard shot and George Lawton making an equally impressive diving turn-around from an accurate sharp drive to keep the half goalless.
The second half brought more of the same fast paced, but sometimes scrappy, play with both defences being tested and with Hammond and Spencer doing well at the heart of the Royston back line. Conor Kilgallon had an excellent debut looking comfortable, concentrated and alert right up until he took a well-earned rest with only slightly older Billy Baird ably replacing him.
The only goal of the game came from “defender” Hammond in the 68th minute who found himself on the edge of the box from a half cleared corner and sent a superb spinning shot past the flailing Beckwith, expertly executed with the outside of his foot – a goal worthy of settling any well contested cup-tie.
Attfield must be keen to use the 11 days before his squad’s next competitive match to get some of his injured players back to full fitness, especially as this match will see a number of experienced players suspended.
Team: Lawton, Parr, Kilgallon (Baird), Spencer, Hammond, Cambridge (c), Edwards, Lockett, Mason, Bryant, Robins. Sub not used – Binge.