|Date||Saturday 19 April 2014|
|Match||Daventry Town v Royston Town|
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One|
Royston Town visited champions elect Daventry Town at their impressive Communications Park stadium knowing they would be up against a committed home side who were looking to cement the division title and automatic promotion.
Steve Castle stuck with the same starting line-up for the third game running, enjoying rarely seen consistency this season with a strong balanced bench as able back-up.
The game itself was a committed affair with both teams looking to create scoring chances in their own way – Royston’s mostly patient build up play against Daventry’s no nonsense defending and more direct channel seeking approach.
Efforts on target were at a premium from both sides and the first real chance for the Crows came following some good link up play between Luke Robins and Kaan Fehmi with Robins shot proving an easy catch for home team keeper, Richard Morris, and early corner pressure brought an unmarked volley from skipper Jack Bradshaw that was smashed wide of the goal. With Scott Bridges putting in another impressive performance in midfield the Crows were looking the more likely in the early stages and Reece Dobson put a good chance high over the bar on the quarter hour. The influential Gary Hart first put through an unconnected lob pass then a flick header was snaffled gratefully by Morris.
Daventry’s centre back pairing of the not unsubstantial Liam Dolman and the more pacey and alert Ollie Wilkinson knew they were in a game as Fehmi’s superb hold up play and Hart’s high class touches and lay-offs continued to probe. The home side’s first real chance came after 30 minutes when a Scott Cross cross was headed wide by the lanky Adam Confue, when he knows he should have done better.
A patchy period of non-retention from the Crows brought a slight re-jig with Hart swapping positionally with Fehmi and Fehmi put a shot just wide of the post and big Joe DeLaSalle took a speculative long lob shot that had Morris scrabbling as it went just over the apex.
The second half saw an early overlap by Bradshaw blocked for a corner and this Dobson delivered set play brought a header by Bradshaw that went wide. A fine long ball from Ross Oulton found Daventry midfielder Ryan Howell and his shot fizzed wide for a let off for the visitors and persistent pressure from the men in purple meant that George Lawton had to be on his toes and he dealt ably with some long balls and made a smart low save to keep their strikers blocked out.
On the hour Robbie Mason replaced Dobson upfront to add new impetus and this competitive match sped on with both sides looking for that elusive winner. Royston’s man of the match today was the superb Ryan Wharton who marshalled the away defence with determination and strength and his organisational input cannot be understated against a lively and increasingly dangerous break-away Daventry strike-force.
Kaan Fehmi unluckily got booked for a so-called dive despite riding two hefty challenges and with ten minutes to go Castle made his final substitutions with Carl Edwards replacing Robbie Nightingale and minutes later Ryan Ingrey swapped for Luke Robins. A final period of both teams cancelling each other out followed and this decent goalless encounter finished with honours even and Daventry must look to their next game to secure their league title.
Team: Lawton, Bradshaw, Dhillon, DeLaSalle, Wharton, Bridges, Hart, Nightingale (Edwards), Fehmi, Dobson (Mason), Robins (Ingrey). Subs not used – Collins, Endacott.