|Date||Saturday 3 December 2011|
|Match||Haringey Borough v Royston Town
|Competition||FA Carlsberg Vase: Third Round
|Man of Match||Martin Standen
This was easily one of the hardest battles The Crows have had this season. Haringey went into this game unbeaten in six games and that combined with a very poor, cut up playing surface would make for the toughest of afternoons. The prize at stake though was of the highest calibre, a place in the national open draw and last 32 on Monday morning and for all the work Paul Attfeld's side put into this game they were rewarded with that prize.
There were a couple of selection problems for The Crows Manager with Jack Bradshaw picking up a thigh injury from last week's Colney Heath game and top scorer Kaan Fehmi serving a one game suspension. Ryan Lockett and Ashley Grinham got the nod as replacements and the game started at a very fast pace.
It was Haringey who had much the better of the first half shooting down the slope and getting early balls into their lively forwards and wide players and supporting from those positions. Royston's defensive record of four conceded in their last 8 competitive games is an exceptional statistic and it took all of their determination to thwart the home sides advances.
In contrast Royston attempted to play through Haringey with their normal attractive game but this was to create pressure on themselves as too often the pitch or poor passes let them down.
For all of Haringey's advances clear cut opportunities were at a premium with Endacott, McGrandles, Beck and Grinham outstanding in defence. An early free kick from a dangerous 20 yard position was blasted straight into the wall and from two vicious in-swinging corners one was headed over wastefully from 8 yards and the other flashed across the six yard box when a touch was probably all that was needed.
In open play the closest Haringey came was one of the very few times they got behind the Royston defence, the powerful Worrell slipping his marker and powering into the box but superbly denied by a strong Will Norris hand to deny him the goal. Around the half an hour mark Royston started to get the grips with the conditions and hand a better spell which accumulated to them taking a 37th minute lead with literally their first real chance.
A good spell of probing reaped some rewards after a good , fast team move exposed the Haringey defence and Ricky Young wriggled into the area and set up Tom Malins who had far too much room from ten yards to blast a high drive inside the keeper's near post. It could have been two just moments later when Matt Standen had the ball in the net after breaking free but he was pulled back for a more than tight offside decision.
Royston took the advantage into half time and returned the much better of the two sides after the interval. Whilst, again, clear cut chances were kept minimal The Crows kept high pressure on the Haringey back line by putting direct balls into forwards Matt Standen and Ricky Young or balls behind the defence and the lively front duo maintained high work rate and pressure to cause some uncertain defensive moments. Standen and Tom Malins both went close with half chances and a 25 yard Ryan Lockett half volley was directed straight at the keeper. Haringey were now firmly on the back foot but one forward forage of quality again saw Worrell break free but again Will Norris came to his team's rescue with a strong goalbound block.
Royston then got a break in the 72nd minute. Martin Standen's fine ball released Malins down the right who likewise charged into the area which brought a strong challenge from the full back. To most the challenge looked good but the referee's assistant indicated a penalty much to vigorous protests from the home side. After a lengthy stoppage and a couple of home cautions Tom Malins stepped up, in place of the absent normal kicker Kaan Fehmi, but his well-placed effort was turned aside by the keeper.
Unfortunately for the home side in the next few minutes they brought about their own downfall. Still incensed with the officials’ decision on the penalty they continued to moan and berate and lost concentration on the job in hand and another two minutes of pressure and home disorganisation cost them dearly. A quick ball forward down the left channel saw Ricky Young get into the area and his well flighted ball in was met by Malins who sent a well placed cushioned header from eight yards just out of the keeper's reach and into the corner.
Having just missed the penalty it brought wild team celebrations but unfortunately for Haringey the full back was still intent on vigorously condemning the linesman and was sent off by the referee. Maybe one or two others were also fortunate to stay on the pitch as the official showed remarkable leniency against some wild language from others.
Haringey threw players forward, having sometimes five or six up front. This left them clearly open at the back but The Crows couldn't finish them off. This created some late pressure and with seven minutes remaining John McGrandles was harshly adjudged to have handled in the box resulting in another contentious spot kick.
Although Will Norris guessed right Worrell's kick hit the bobbly surface and bounced over his body to half the deficit. Whilst late pressure continued no other clear chances materialised and for all their hard work and endeavour Royston are rewarded with a place in the last 32 of the FA Carlsberg Vase for the second time in three seasons.
Team: Norris, Endacott, Grinham (Clemo), McGrandles, Beck, Martin Standen, Edwards, Malins, Lockett, Matt Standen, Young (O’Brien) Unused: Lawrence, Robins, Arin Fehmi