|Date||Saturday 9 April 2011|
|Match||Kingsbury London Tigers v Royston Town|
|Competition||Spartan South Midlands League: Premier Division|
|Royston Scorers||Klein(2), Young, Matt Standen|
|Man of Match||Ricky Young|
The Crows have been decimated with injuries and suspensions since the turn of the year and for the second time in a week manager Paul Attfield only had 13 fit players to select from, but a run of impressive performances or shear dogged determination games has seen Royston lose just one of fifteen league outings and the chance of finishing runners up in only their second season back in the Premier Division now lies in their own hands.
For the first time this season Paul Attfield's side climbed above Tring Athletic albeit on goal difference and despite being three points behind second placed Colney Heath they have a game in hand which will be at league champions Chalfont St Peter on Tuesday evening – Chalfont secured their promotion with a 0-0 draw against Stotfold today.
Another plus note is that there are good signs that a fully fit, full strength squad might be at The Crows Manager's disposal on Tuesday evening. In today's game Matt Standen made his first full start for the team after suffering a broken leg versus Tring Athletic in January and Tom Malins made a late appearance after a ten week absence with a broken hand. Also missing from the squad were Martin Standen, Jack Bradshaw, Ashley Grinham and the suspended Rhys Lawrence who all should be available for Tuesday night's game.
In the stifling heat the first half was always going to be crucial as the players had to adapt to an unfamiliar weather pattern. From Royston's point of view it was job done as all of the game goals were scored in the opening 40 minutes meaning the visitors had little need to chase the game in the second half and could more contain.
Another big plus point in the last month has been the introduction of winger Paul Klein from the reserve team. Klein had scored in each of Royston's last three games and a double in this game helped his team to an excellent three points against technically good opposition.
On Tuesday at Hanwell Klein needed two minutes to open the scoring but he needed a minute more in this game with a third minute opener. Ryan Lockett's fine diagonal crossfield ball found the winger on the left of Kingsbury's area and after cutting inside the full back from the narrowest of angles he unleashed an awesome drive high above the keeper's arms and into the furthest top corner.
The visitors kept a good defensive grip and frequently tried hitting their hosts on the counter attack when moves broke down. On ten minutes a neat move ended with Klein crossing for Lockett who headed straight at the keeper from ten yards.
The confidence in Royston's passing game in the difficult conditions began to wear Kingsbury down even so early in the game and the lead was deservedly doubled just before the half hour mark when Matt Standen's well weighted through ball found the equally well timed run of Ricky Young who slotted under the advancing keeper.
The team went for the jugular and had the game all but wrapped up by 37 minutes. Ross Collins found another well weighted through ball for Paul Klein to beat the keeper at his near post on 35 minutes and then it was great to see Matt Standen score his first senior goal since his move from Hatfield Town two minutes later. Danny Apostolos found a sublime 35 yard angles long ball from defence that released Standen who controlled the ball and placed an angled shot under the keeper.
An extended injury to a Kingsbury player just allowed some complacency to settle in very briefly and Kingsbury got there only consolation after that lay off with Jorden Gibson exposed in a quick counter attack.
Despite being well down at the interval the home side made a much better fist of it in the second half committing more players in attack with more frantic gambles giving The Crows some chances of outnumbering on the counter. This opened up the game nicely and despite there being no more goals both teams had chances to add to the scoreline. Gibson made one smart one on one block and a forward had another effort crash onto the crossbar from 16 yards as well as another couple of more presentable close range chances blazed high over the bar for the hosts.
At the other end Matt Standen hit a post with a close range volley as well as miskicking wide at full stretch from close range. John McGrandles had a close range header from a corner directed straight at the keeper and Klein had a superb chance to complete a hat trick but volleyed Lewis Endacott's cross over from eight yards. Ross Collins and Ryan Lockett both shot over from the good positions but on balance of play The Crows were worthy winners and three goals difference between the sides was fair on the day.
The game at Chalfont is crucial in terms of the Royston team having the chance of finishing in second place with just four games remaining to play.
Team : Gibson, Endacott, Apostolos, McGrandles, Cain, Collins, Edwards, Matt Standen (Malins), Young, Lockett, Klein Unused : Whitaker