|Date||Saturday 7 January 2017|
|Match||Beaconsfield SYCOB v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Frendo, Frater, Castiglione(2), Orlando-Young, Watkins|
This was an interesting one. Two in form teams battling it out with Beaconsfield recovering from a poor start to the season, now on an impressive run of results, scoring lots of goals and making a genuine push for the play-offs and Royston doing whatever is necessary to secure the result, game by game.
Beaconsfield have a young side who obviously know where the goal is and they took their chances well, when usually presented by loose defending, but with the exciting attack force from the Crows also potent in front of goal today. Royston were never behind – but were persistent having to look over their collective shoulders as they could not definitively shake these pesky kids off.
The game started as open as it finished and on three minutes there was a near SYCOB own goal but home keeper Sam Bunting did well tipping the ball over from his team-mate’s deflection and it was breathless hustle and bustle until a moment of real class drew first blood.
John Frendo received a throw in on the corner of the box – taking it on his chest – and with a spin and weight change, unleashed a perfect left foot volley diagonally across the home keeper and high into the top left corner – a real thing of beauty. 0-1.
Beaconsfield scrapped back and had a good long distance chance on 18 minutes when untidy marking brought a 30 yard pot on goal that Joe Welch dove low to his left to palm round the post.
Royston took a two goal lead on twenty minutes with a well taken goal from big Ryan Frater, who was up for a corner, but rather than the expected headed effort, he scored with a deft first touch and a firm top corner finish after being left with a lot of time in the six yard box. 0-2.
Again the hosts counter-punched back – this time being awarded a penalty kick on 25 minutes – when Danny May was adjudged to foul and Callum Bunting stepped up and scored from the spot. 1-2.
Four minutes later and the two goal margin was restored. Rod Orlando-Young was getting some room on the left wing and a muddled approach brought a long half-deflected lob effort that was going in but defender Harry Tucker did well lofting the ball off of the line – but his high clearance fell perfectly to a waiting Josh Castiglione who had an easy central header in. 1-3.
The game continued to swing with more half chances for the Crows and their opponents and Welch again rescued his stretched defenders making another important save on 40 minutes – but Welch was helpless on the cusp of half time as a central free-kick was pushed forward and an unchallenged header was lobbed over the stranded keeper. 2-3.
I am not sure what either coach could say at half time to try and achieve real dominance in this exciting and open game – but whatever it was, it had no real effect as the second half was a carbon copy of sloppy defending and sharp finishing, resulting in an identical score-line.
Orlando-Young got the Crows’ fourth with a run and unchallenged dribble on 49 minutes up the left and cutting in before shooting low under Bunting, who probably should have done better with this one. 2-4.
A match defining event happened on 53 minutes when Welch performed miracles in the visitors’ goal, seemingly stranded and chasing back, but somehow spreading himself to make an excellent point blank stop to keep the goal-bound shot out and away. Top class keeping.
Steve Castle made a change, swapping Spyros Mentis for Stuart Bridges on 54 minutes.
Two minutes later and Royston scored their fifth. Some pressing play culminated in the ball falling for Castiglione central on the edge of the box and he took just enough time to pick his spot and put a sweet shot through the crowd that hit the back of the net with pace. 2-5.
Most times a three goal lead at this stage of the match should be enough – but not against this SYCOB team and they struck back with two determined goals – exploiting poor and reckless defending from the Crows’ back line well – scoring in the 61st and 67th minutes. 4-5.
Castle made his last changes between these two SYCOB goals – swapping Frendo for Kaan Fehmi and Orlando-Young for Rayn Ingrey on 62 minutes.
With the game in the balance we saw more good attacking from both teams – both looking to assert themselves on this match and there always looked to be another goal in this frantic game – with it unclear as to which team would actually score it.
There was – and the Crows grasped all three points with obvious satisfaction and relief – fine work from man of the match Castiglione arrived at the by-line with trickery and cut back a clever pass to find Adam Watkins, having another good all round game – lurking on the central edge of the 6 yard box and he struck home a controlled side-footed finish to seal the match and points. 4-6.
The Crows extend their winning run to 13 league games, which is impressive at any level, and with their close rivals all dropping points it was a good day for the resilient Crows.
Team: Welch, Scott-Morriss, May, Mentis (Bridges Stu), Brathwaite, Frater, Orlando-Young (Ingrey), Towner, Frendo (Fehmi), Watkins, Castiglione.
Subs not used – Powell, Murray.