|Date||Monday 6 April 2015|
|Match||Barton Rovers v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Stuart Bridges, Ingrey|
Royston Town made the Bank Holiday trip to Barton Rovers in what was an eagerly awaited top of the table clash that with four games to go would go towards determining hopefully ultimate play off positions.
The heroes in white and black completed a home and away double over their local rivals with a deserved 2-0 victory which saw limited chances for the home team and total commitment from the flying high Crows to clinch their eighth consecutive win and also their eighth consecutive game without conceding a goal from open play. Impressive end of season stuff.
It was noticeably a shouting battle at the start as each team bid for vocal superiority with ex Barton player, Liam McDevitt, particularly engaged. Playing wise it was early Royston inter-play that held sway and clever, intricate, movement in the final third was exciting to watch as Ryan Ingrey, Gary Hart and Fejiri Okenabirhie started to bamboozle their markers. First chance fell to Ingrey as Ryan Wharton sent over a fine cross but no real headed connection was seen. First goal came ten minutes in with a sweeping deep pass by Ingrey found the lurking back post Hart who sent a dangerous cross straight back in to find the arriving Stuart Bridges with a running header – Kyle Forster, in the Rovers goal, made a decent stop but the ball came back out to Bridges who blasted it in from 5 yards.
The home team’s frustration in not really being in this game started to fester and a period of ugly break up play and constant screaming at the referee was seen that slowed Crows football progress but never really added anything to their own game. The Crows easily weathered this and punished this negative self- destructive play on 38 minutes with a similar goal to the first. Good work from the tireless Okenabirhie fed the once again back post space finding Hart who delivered another telling intelligent cross this time for Ingrey to try and head in and again Forster made a decent stop but his block fell directly onto the sprawling Ingrey’s head and went in. 0-2.
Right back Wharton was forced to leave the pitch with a head injury following a blatant flying elbow by a frustrated Russell Bull whom was lucky that the referee didn’t see the incident. The able Jack Bradshaw slotted in seamlessly.
The second half saw Royston boss the game keeping their opponents well under control and superb midfield play by Spyros Mentis and Scott and Stuart Bridges dominated all challenges and the home team’s movement of Kevin Kilroy into the central midfield area was nullified.
Unusually quiet, but well marshalled, Barton striker Lewis Putman departed the field on the hour mark and at the same time old warhorse Hart made way for the returning Kaan Fehmi. With half hour to go Steve Castle asked for more and despite Scott Bridges making a headed off the line clearance, it was really only his Crows that were going to win this game.
An incident on 70 minutes blighted this competitive match between two committed teams and left both sides questioning the referee and his assistant’s view on a seemingly innocuous coming together. Ingrey was left prone by ex-Crow Jhai Dhillon in a left back position, who also remained on the floor, with the referee’s assistant clearly indicating a foul by Dhillon. Whilst prostrate, Ingrey was stamped on by the incoming Barton No 5 Kilroy and following treatment of both downed players the referee inexplicably decided to show both Ingrey and Dhillon a straight red card.
The game as a contest fizzled out and Royston took another well earned three points away from one of their play-off rivals. With three games to go the play-offs are still not secured but this was a giant step towards this aim. With Aylesbury FC only drawing the Crows went equal on points with the second placed team, but this draw also meant Kettering Town, despite going down 3-0 against fourth placed Rugby Town today, secured the league title and automatic promotion – congratulations to them.
Team: Yates, Wharton (Bradshaw), Watters, Powell, McDevitt, Bridges Scott, Bridges Stuart, Mentis, Hart (Fehmi), Okenabirhie, Ingrey.
Subs not used – Nightingale, Theobald, Scott-Morriss.