|Date||Saturday 16 January 2016|
|Match||Hanwell Town v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
With games being called off left, right and centre due to the weather, it took a late approval by the match referee to get this game on as the pitch was soggy, patchy and sticky in places and the quality of match play suffered because of this – but credit to the Hanwell ground staff for getting it playable in the first place and avoiding the need for a Tuesday night postponement.
The available Royston squad was down on numbers for various reasons, with suspensions and injuries taking their toll, and more recently Joe De La Salle was unfortunately involved in a serious car accident and the whole club wish him well with his recuperation. The volume went up in the defensive area as Liam McDevitt made his full return after an injury lay off and Daniel Brathwaite put in another impressive display alongside McDevitt at centre back and the whole back line worked extremely hard today in this tough game.
It was a scrappy, unattractive game that lacked any real fluidity and quality – but it certainly did not lack commitment and determination from both sides and with a solitary second half goal settling it the home side were never out of getting something from this game until the final whistle sounded.
The first half was mainly the Crows working hard to create goal chances but these were few and far between as the pitch condition, coupled with some dogged home side defending, kept on target shots to a premium, despite numerous corner routines and the only notable chance was a toe poked effort from Jack Bradshaw on 23 minutes.
Hanwell weren’t without their own threat and should have gone ahead on 40 minutes when Danilson Vincente was presented with a tap in following a well saved shot by Ron Yates but blasted the ball wastefully over the bar as a big let off for their visitors.
The second half saw a more defined high pace approach from Royston early on and Hanwell found themselves pinned in their own half in the first 15 minutes of the second period and it was this sustained pressing that eventually broke their opponents down and with goalkeeper Martin Herdman half punching away a high ball in – under challenge from Rob Mason – that fell invitingly to the well placed Ryan Towner who connected firmly with a sharp left foot half volley that hit the back of the net high and hard past the semi-stranded defence and keeper. 0-1.
This sole strike was enough to settle this game and despite Royston pressing for another clinching goal and Steve Castle changing the front line with fresh legged Reece Dobson and Luke Robins replacing the more industrious and effective Rob Mason and Ryan Ingrey – but as the level of work-rate was not swapped like for like and with the ball not staying has high up the pitch we saw the Hanwell team gain some foothold and opportunity to push their visitors back more and the last ten minutes of this match saw increasingly desperate chasing and tackling from the Crows, conceding potentially dangerous free-kicks that the defenders and Yates just about dealt with.
There were still Crows’ chances to score – notably Robins crashing a good strike against the bar and McDevitt heading a corner just over – but no further goals were forthcoming.
This was a hard won victory and another important three points that was a Royston victory of determination over style.
Team: Yates, May, Watters (Scott-Morriss), Okay, McDevitt, Brathwaite, Bradshaw, Towner, Mason (Dobson), Ingrey (Robins), Hoenes.
Subs not used – None.