|Date||Monday 16 September 2013|
|Match||Beaconsfield SYCOB v Royston Town
|Competition||Calor League: Division One Central
|Royston Scorers||Mason, Hammond(pen)
It was quickly back to league action following the Crows triumphant FA Cup victory two days earlier. Starting team changes saw Robbie Nightingale side-lined with a trapped nerve in his back, with Adie Cambridge starting. Ryan Ingrey and Sam Spencer were on the bench with Mitchell Bryant and Carl Edwards drafted in. Craig Hammond once again would start as substitute returning from his own back injury. Bryant would line up on the left with Ryan Lockett switched to the right. It was certainly pleasing to see an unchanged back four that had visibly started to gel on Saturday.
An early home team muddle saw a chance with Tom Pepper supplying Robbie Mason with a low diving header that went wide and from the resulting corner again the powerful Mason headed wide. Mitchell Bryant started lively on the left with some great footwork bamboozling his opponents, running on and his low shot went past the post. An equally mazy run and shot from a Beaconsfield striker was also put wide and another home team effort went close. This game had started with open and flowing play from both teams, with both sets of players playing good, quick, pacey football with perhaps just the final ball quality or precision shooting missing at both ends.
Tom Pepper put in a surge and good shot that was comfortably saved by the home keeper. Again slick passing and movement created chances at both ends with shooting practice evidently needed. In form Royston keeper, George Lawton was called upon to make a solid block and then a diving save. Some pressure from the Crows forced some desperate defending and fouls were committed giving Adie Cambridge the chance to deliver some dead ball kicks. Cambridge sending one over from the left wing that was recycled by Joe DeLaSalle on the right wing driving a fine cross in that took a flick but no player in a white shirt could connect.
A scrappy period of play from both sides ensued and Carl Edwards showed his reliable class switching the ball creatively pushing the flanks forward at every opportunity. Adie Cambridge had a good chance with his shot floating in rather than being whipped in much to his own annoyance. Ross Collins also had a good opportunity to put in a shot but some desperate brave defending from the home team’s skipper got himself clattered with Collins’ boot accidently catching him rather than the ball.
There were decent untaken chances for both sides in this first period but arguably the visitor’s best effort came in the 47th minute when another Cambridge free-kick found Mason well with a full on header but his effort from 3 yards cannoned back off the well placed keeper, James Reading, to safety. This entertaining half of two teams toiling to play football, always trying to create goal scoring chances, finished surprisingly goal-less.
The second half started with Royston on the front foot and Beaconsfield once again thwarted these surges with persistent fouls giving their visitors dead ball delivery. The home team were breaking away well from these defended set pieces and at times the Crows had to scramble back in haste to protect their goal. Ten minutes into the second period came the event that changed this match from a well contested, fairly played, entertaining game into a tetchy, disjointed debacle and that was down to one person – the man in black.
Royston keeper Lawton made what was clearly a well-timed, strong and clean tackle on a home team striker – with the ball despatched firmly for a throw in and the attacker’s honest momentum sprawling over the tackling leg. There were no appeals from the home team players or spectators, no flag from the assistant referee who had a perfect view, just the poorly positioned referee blowing for a penalty and subsequently showing Lawton the red card.
Full back Lewis Endacott donned the gloves but could not deliver justice with a save, seeing the spot-kick from Aaron Morgan duly converted. At the restart the Crows briefly lost their cumulative heads until the Royston management made sensible fresh legged midfield packing changes that steadied the ship. Lockett, Edwards and Cambridge went off being replaced by Spencer, Ingrey and Hammond.
To their immense credit the visitors brought the game back even when some inspirational play from full-back Tom Pepper set up Craig Hammond for a snap shot that was well saved by the Rams’ keeper, Reading. The resulting corner was well delivered by Bryant and sheer determined fury drove Robbie Mason high to head home to bring the ten men level.
Both teams continued to probe and committed football ensued. Ryan Ingrey was bringing new energy to the midfield effort and Craig Hammond was adding support to the tireless Mason, but both strikers were both having to drop when Beaconsfield were in possession. The referee’s performance went from bad to worse missing numerous misdemeanours, stopping play when advantages were preferred and generally making himself extremely unpopular with both sets of players, coaches and supporters. Joe DeLaSalle powered a free-kick direct into the wall and the home team broke away with speed with the ten men scrabbling back to provide a screen.
Stand in non-keeper Endacott dropped a high ball but wasn’t punished – but redeemed himself with a probably basic stop for a full time stopper – but he did well to hold on. The home team’s patience in the build-up was spot on as they made the Crows chase them, spreading the ball from wing to wing trying to forge a clear cut chance with the boys in black and white working their proverbials off.
The Rams’ patience prevailed with some solid build up play provoking a slice of quality with Nathan Paulton finding a yard on the edge of the box and striking a precision low shot inside the post despite the desperate dive from the valiant Endacott. Any semblance of order the referee had left deserted him and with the Crow’s pushing men on looking for another equaliser the home team’s method of defending involved clear fouls that the referee chose to ignore and sometimes even gave the decisions the opposite dumb-founding way. It was all Royston in the last five minutes and the pressure finally told. A well delivered Bryant corner struck a Beaconsfield player and amazingly the referee called it hand-ball – from my view it wasn’t. Craig Hammond professionally buried it for 2-2 and the referee put himself out of his misery by blowing for full time.
A draw was possibly a fair result on the night with two decent footballing sides creating numerous chances with both sides just missing that cutting edge, either through good defending or chasing that quality final ball or shot on target.
Team: Lawton, Pepper, Endacott, Bradshaw, DeLaSalle, Edwards (Spencer), Cambridge (C) (Ingrey), Collins, Lockett (Hammond), Mason, Bryant. Sub not used – Parr.