|Date||Saturday 28 January 2012|
|Match||Harefield United v Royston Town
|Competition||Molten Spartan South Midlands Football League: Premier Division
|Royston Scorers||Matt Standen, K. Fehmi(2), Robins, Endacott, Malins|
|Man of Match||Ryan Lockett
This was a game blessed with some quality finishing by The Crows as they rattled up a six goal haul in an away game for the third time this season. It was more impressive as the visitors had struggled to get a grip of the game in the first half and had to come from behind. After The Crows turning the deficit into a half time lead the 44th minute sending off of the Harefield full back for handball on the line did not help the hard working hosts cause and Royston were ruthless in the second half.
From a selection point of view Jack Bradshaw was ruled out through injury but John McGrandles, Martin Standen and Tom Malins who all missed the Cambridge City mid-week game all returned to the squad although Paul Attfield stuck mainly with the side that finished that game so well on Wednesday evening.
Harefield's pitch is one of the better in the league and although it was quite heavy both sides were able to move the ball well. The visitors started strongly but were largely let down by decision making in the Harefield half and struggled to create during the early exchanges.
Out of nothing The Hares took an early 9th minute lead with their first venture forward. Royston lost possession from their own throw in on halfway with a central midfielder chipping the ball over a square back line, Jack Reader raced onto the ball and fired confidently past Will Norris. This fired up the hosts who worked very hard to repel any visiting threat and the game became quite scrappy, but there were moments where Royston had chances to level. Two counter attacks down the right ended with the hard working Matt Standen crossing for Kaan Fehmi who on both occasions mis-hit ten yard drives that the keeper blocked.
The equaliser did arrive on the half hour when another good move down the right involving Fehmi, Ryan Lockett and Joe Clemo set up a 25 yard chance for Carl Edwards whose goal bound shot was deflected into the net by Matt Standen.
The Crows continued to probe without being spectacular and got their break just before the interval when Lockett's corner was diverted towards goal by Jason Beck and although the keeper was beaten the full back handled on the line which the referee spotted, and he duly sent off the offending player. Kaan Fehmi fired the spot kick low into the corner giving the keeper no chance to give Royston a slender half time lead.
Despite playing a team reduced in the numbers The Crows started the second half with far more intent in their game and looking the livelier with and without the ball they managed to completely dominate the game and created an abundance of chances. Within the first ten minutes of the half Jason Beck, Ryan Lockett and Ross Collins had all fired inches wide of the target before they got a crucial third goal on 57 minutes. Kaan Fehmi was fouled just on the edge of the left corner of the area and picked himself up to fire an unstoppable free kick past the keeper and into the far corner.
Within the next five minutes Royston had added two more goals as they threatened to run riot. First a real contender for goal of the season as Fehmi's run and cross was superbly volleyed into the top corner by Luke Robins from 16 yards and from Royston's next attack they won a corner which was floated to the far post and, despite it eluding everyone else, full back Lewis Endacott had time to control and rifle a ten yard angled drive high into the net.
Paul Attfield then made three changes with Malins, Young and Martin Standen entering the fray, but within seconds Kaan Fehmi picked up a knee injury so The Crows were forced to play the remaining 20 minutes with ten players also.
This hardly affected Royston's continuing dominance and the home keeper brought off stunning saves from Martin Standen and Ross Collins as well as tipping over a close range header from Ryan Lockett. It was close to the full time whistle in stoppage time when the scoring was completed with another peach of a goal. Martin Standen made a well-timed run down the right and sent over a superb high cross to the far post with Tom Malins not needing to break stride to thump in a twelve yard volley under the keeper's dive.
After a slow start The Crows found top form in the second half and had far too much for a Harefield side that never gave up. Royston maintained a four point lead over the two Dunstable teams (who also won today) at the top of the table with a game in hand over both.
Team: Norris, Clemo, Endacott, McGrandles, Beck, Collins, Edwards (Martin Standen), K. Fehmi, Matt Standen (Young), Lockett, Robins (Malins). Unused: A. Fehmi