|Date||Tuesday 25 November 2014|
|Match||Chalfont St Peter v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Division One Central|
Royston Town’s poor run of league performances and results continued on a wet Tuesday in Chalfont St Peter as they went down to a last ditch 2-1 defeat at the hands of the in-form Saints and whilst it was a cruel blow it was a probably deserved win for the home team.
The Crows laboured in the first half trying in vain to find effective width to the wing backs, Jack Bradshaw and Reece Dobson, and Chalfont’s early domination and better movement and chance creation highlighted the Crows’ carelessness with the ball and the first twenty minutes almost bypassed the men in black and white as they looked for scraps whilst their hosts had half chances on Dom Russo’s goal including an effort that glanced a post.
Chalfont got the earned lead on 26 minutes as a corner wasn’t dealt with and Remmel Clarke poached a loose ball to direct into the net. A much better period of play from the Crows followed as they reacted well to this goal and the shape improved further as the Dug-Out changed Chris Watters from a central position to the left wing with Reece Dobson taking on a forward role alongside Gary Hart and Ryan Ingrey dropping into the hole.
The match play was more even but the Saints continued to challenge the Crows’ defence regularly but it was the valiant visitors that got themselves even when a Stuart Bridges corner was flicked on well by the giant leaping Spyros Mentis and Dobson chested down then smashed home from 7 yards to draw level and Chalfont must have wondered how the score was one a piece at the break.
The weather deteriorated, as it usually does when we visit Mill Meadow, and persistent and pitch ruining rain fell all through the second period.
Royston were good this half in defensive shape and midfield movement, break up play and support going forward, but the Crows were and are still lacking a cutting edge in the final third and they would rue this inability to convert chances to scores at the end of this match.
Chalfont had a netted ball ruled offside but it was the visitors who dominated possession in extremely slippery and pitch rutted conditions and reasonable goal-scoring chances were forged and spurned. Man of the match Russo made a decent save following a jinking run and shot from a Chalfont attacker and he was then called upon to face up to a penalty kick when the referee adjudged a foul from a Saints corner delivery. Credit to the Royston stopper as he guessed correctly, going to his right to parry away a firmly hit spot kick, to keep his team in this game.
A good move between Watters and Dobson saw the latter put his snap shot wide but the best chance of the second half fell to skipper Bradshaw as a corner kick found him unattached in the box 8 yards out, but he put his unblocked low shot right of the beckoning net.
Royston’s second half performance suggested that a hard won point was possibly on the cards but a short period of sloppy under-hit passing gave the Saints the opportunity to break and break they did up the left wing running on and putting over a low cross that eluded the chasing defenders and found more than willing substitute Anthony Page mid penalty area to shoot calmly into the goal to take all three points.
Late surging from the Crows, including two pressure corners were dealt with well by their hosts and a late, late, possibly injury forced, substitution saw Bradshaw swapped for Lewis Endacott but seconds later the final whistle blew.
This leaves the despondent Crows at P17 W9 D1 L7 on 28 points in 7th position – with a game in hand on their peers – but this season has seen their play-off competitors also dropping random points, so it is still all to play for as we enter an important December – but Royston need to start putting together some positive results to realistically stay in top five position contention.
Team: Russo, Bradshaw (Endacott), Kilgallon, McDevitt, Mentis, Bridges Scott, Bridges Stuart, Dobson, Hart (Lockett), Watters, Ingrey.
Subs not used – Nightingale, Theobald, Collins.