|Date||Monday 26 August 2013|
|Match||Dunstable Town v Royston Town
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One
On the balance of play and chances this result was probably a fair reflection of the game, but The Crows led twice in the game and were left aggrieved by a poor penalty decision awarded against them with 13 minutes remaining which gave the hosts the chance to level and take a share of the points.
Paul Attfield has had defensive headaches since day one of the season. There was a welcome return from suspension of Tom Pepper, but Dave Theobald has an aggravating knee problem that will need a scan and Jack Bradshaw failed a pre-match fitness test on a foot injury. Lewis Endacott played with a neck injury with the full back playing through the pain barrier for his side in difficult circumstances.
In attack there are no such problems and after a number of slow starts in recent games this was very different as The Crows dominated proceedings early on and were a constant threat in and around the Dunstable penalty area.
Ryan Ingrey had an early angled drive just clear the crossbar before Royston took an 8th minute lead. Robbie Mason doing well in the box to control a deep cross and fire across the face of goal where Craig Hammond was waiting at the far post to prod home.
Ingrey was unlucky not to double the lead when his shot from 20 yards went inches wide and Rob Mason headed and Lewis Endacott cross just wide also. Dunstable had offered little going forward until they levelled just after the half hour mark and from Royston's point of view their recent nemesis of failing to deal with corners cost them again as a near-post delivery somehow found its way across the face of goal where it was returned into the six yard box for Cashman to head home.
This had been Dunstable's first threatening moment but it led to a period of sustained pressure that could have resulted in more goals as The Crows became ragged in their play and discipline. More set plays caused more problems with a far post scramble being hacked off the line and another couple of headers failing to test George Lawton's goal.
Half time came at the right time for the visitors and they returned with better composure and control in their game in a half that became quite open in the sultry hot conditions and the fact this was a second game in three days for a lot of the players.
The referee began to take centre of attention with a number of picky decisions that frustrated both sides but the quality on offer was still shown in glimpses. Dunstable made attacking substitutions that would threaten any defensive unit as they showed what an array of attacking talent they have at their disposal and Lawton did well to tip wide a well struck Watkins effort from 20 yards.
Royston looked threatening on the counter attack but couldn't find the quality needed to breach the home defence until they earned themselves a penalty in the 67th minute when Ryan Ingrey was literally assaulted in the area challenging for a high ball and Hammond drilled home the spot kick.
With Dunstable throwing numbers forward and going all-out attack Royston could have killed the game with headers from Ryan Lockett and Mitchell Bryant off target from good crosses.
Controversy arrived in the 76th minute when two Dunstable players challenged the same ball in the area with Joe De La Salle in close attention. With one player falling to the ground the referee immediately gave the kick amidst vigorous Royston protests but to no avail as Marsh expertly fired into the corner to level proceedings.
This provoked some late home pressure that The Crows did well to defend and whilst it was good to get a positive result in a very tricky looking and tough game it was nearly an excellent result but the visitors remain unbeaten in their first four games.
Team: Lawton Endacott Pepper De La Salle Cambridge Collins Ingrey Nightingale Hammond (Lockett) Mason Bryant Unused : Edwards Parr