|Date||Saturday 3 August 2013|
|Match||Cheshunt v Royston Town
|Competition||Herts Charity Cup: First Round
|Royston Scorers||Mason, Hammond
The Crows have had a dismal record in Herts Charity competitions in recent seasons but this was a decent win against good opposition and Paul Attfield's side progressed to the Semi Finals of the competition.
The game didn't go without its problems. With two weeks to go before the league season the injury list was quite concerning with Kaan Fehmi, Robbie Nightingale, Ryan Ingrey, Joe De La Salle, Tom Pepper, Sam Spencer and Mitchell Bryant missing this game.
This only goes to show the strength of the squad though, as The Crows finished worthy winners especially after the dismissal after a straight red card tackle by Dave Theobald on the hour mark.
Another plus point was the debut of newly signed forward Robbie Mason from Ryman League North Division Soham Town Rangers. Mason bagged 34 goals last season and his debut goal and assist and general all round game left an admiring audience at full time.
The Crows started brightly and took an early 8th minute lead. Ross Collins fed Mason on the right corner of the area and he cut inside the full back before curling a delightful effort across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.
Cheshunt were very attractive with their possession but despite getting around The Crows area a good number of times any chances they created were at a premium and George Lawton looked comfortable with a hard working back line in front of him.
Rob Mason had another effort on goal straight at the keeper and Ryan Lockett had a sweet half volley connection unfortunately targeted straight at the keeper for Royston's best chances but it was largely the hosts that controlled proceedings until half time with their best chance falling just before the whistle. A forward burst past a couple of hesitant tackles but Lawton raced from his goal and got a strong hand on the well struck effort on target.
The second half continued with Cheshunt on the front foot and a couple of scoring chances were routinely dealt with by Lawton and at the other end Craig Hammond had a good effort from 20 yards that just cleared the crossbar.
The referee started to take centre stage and he dismissed the Crows shipper Theobald for a lunging tackle on 60 minutes but the issuing of six other cautions in a very low key affair was scarcely warranted or needed in the game.
Rather than affecting the Crows, the reduction in numbers galvanised the team. Paul Attfield replaced Luke Robins with Adie Cambridge and the visitors began to have their best spell of the game.
Craig Hammond had an excellent chance to double the lead when a slip from the last defender sent him through on goal but the decision to chip the keeper was possibly the wrong choice and the home custodian gathered comfortably.
Moments later a good move saw the overlapping Cambridge pick the ball up in the right channel and his cross ended up having to be tipped over the bar by the keeper.
From the resulting Lockett corner Mason, not for the first time, won a good aerial header towards goal and Hammond turned in in from six yards at the far post.
Cheshunt huffed and puffed without really looking like getting back into the game and got a lifeline in the last minute when Lewis Endacott brought down a forward in the area with the resulting penalty scored with ease.
Even a bizarrely added eight minutes of added time never looked like affecting the outcome and The Crows will have a good chance of drawing higher grade opposition when the Semi Final draw is made.
Paul Attfield commented “At this stage of pre-season you want to be playing decent opposition and we got a good workout today. Whilst this competition has never been taken very seriously it is always good to get into a winning mentality. We had some very good periods and some poor periods in the game whilst we saw some really positive plus points especially Robbie Mason's debut which impressed me greatly. Right now it is very frustrating having so many absentees and it may well be a case now of going into the League season without getting a view of the whole squad together in any one game. That said I am more than happy with the size and depth of the squad now and in two weeks I would like to think our six week pre-season programme will encourage a positive start to the league season”.
Team: Lawton, Parr, Bradshaw, Theobald, Endacott, Collins, Edwards, Lockett (Bronti), Hammond, Mason, Robins (Cambridge)