|Date||Tuesday 9 August 2016|
|Match||Bedford Town v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Scott Bridges|
This was better from the travelling Crows. A much more cohesive performance in all areas of the pitch led to better on goal efforts, that if it wasn’t for the heroics of Ashley Harris in the Bedford goal would have seen the Crows leading the Eagles by at least three goals at the break.
Steve Castle surprised a few with his selections, arguing squad rotation to keep all players fresh and engaged.
The game started with the visitors on the front foot winning two early box edge free-kicks as Bedford fouled consistently and often to keep the probing Crows at bay. The first real chance on goal came on 10 minutes as a good cross in by Jack Bradshaw found a low brave dive from Josh Castiglione and keeper Harris threw himself to the right to produce a fine save from the youngster’s header. Gary Cohen should have done better seven minutes later when he pounced on a short back pass but his prod was blocked easily by the alert Harris.
Up the other end Adam Murray nearly notched an own goal and Crows’ keeper Reece Paine made a good solid stop from an Eagles’ free-kick.
There was continued good link up play with Gus Scott-Morriss at right back joining the fray over-lapping often and Ryan Ingrey waging a match long intriguing battle with Bedford’s decent No 3, Lee Hawkes.
The impressive Adam Murray collided heavily with the post on the half hour mark whilst making a committed block and was stretchered from the pitch following treatment with a knee injury that hopefully will not prove to be too serious. Big Joe De La Salle came on as replacement.
A ten-minute scrappier period of play up to half time saw the Crows lose their way a bit and both teams had less clear cut chances at either end – but the first half finished goalless.
The second half saw Royston once again more positive and an early handball shout for a penalty found the referee poorly positioned to make the correct call.
Four minutes in and again keeper Harris thwarted the Crows’ progress making another good block from Castiglione’s low effort.
The quality of the delivered balls into the box by Royston were mixed as they persisted in their testing and most were easily snaffled by Harris coming to claim.
Paine was once again called into action on the hour mark saving a low effort and five minutes later producing a spectacular tip onto the bar save to repel the home side’s own score seeking push.
On 68 minutes Castle replaced Cohen with Kaan Fehmi and immediately Fehmi’s presence added to the impetus bringing another good stop from Harris and two minutes later the substitute crashed a solid effort onto the bar and then Castiglione flicked a spontaneous effort over.
Royston’s will to play and game pressure was good and they never gave up trying to win this game but Bedford counter-punched when they could, but finding Paine suitably alert.
With the game drawing to an end the Crows had their second handball in the penalty area shout waved away as again referee Chalmers was not in a position to see the Bedford defender smother the ball with his arms while on the ground and under pressure from Ingrey.
It looked like ending a lively 0-0 draw but skipper Scoot Bridges had a different view and in injury time a brilliantly delivered cross from Danny May on the right hand side found the unmarked Bridges who jumped high and with force to power a firm header past the helpless Harris to claim maximum points from this well contested early season match.
Team: Paine, Scott-Morriss, May, Bridges Scott, Murray (De La Salle), Bridges Stuart, Bradshaw, Mentis, Cohen (Fehmi), Castiglione, Ingrey. Subs not used – Towner, Watters, Linsell.