|Date||Saturday 7 December 2013|
|Match||Leighton Town v Royston Town
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One
Royston Town welcomed back ex-goalkeeper Will Norris on a month’s loan from Cambridge United and Caretaker manager Duncan Easley chose to select midfielder Ross Collins at right back over the more usual defender Lewis Endacott in front of him. Three on-paper holding midfielders in the guise of Carl Edwards, Adie Cambridge and Sam Spencer were lined up, but as the game started it could be seen that Edwards had been given a more forward supporting role that he did well. Up front was Kaan Fehmi, with Ryan Lockett and Mitchell Bryant hopefully providing some width.
Compared to some of the more recent performances, the first half was a pleasure to watch with lots of chances being created on the unhelpful bobbly pitch and in the third minute the Crow’s passing and movement and the high tempo of the start caught Leighton out as the visitors steamed forward and Mitch Bryant pressurised the full back, first being pulled back then industrially tackled for a penalty kick which striker Kaan Fehmi despatched with confidence to give Easley the start he was obviously hoping for.
Good chances for Fehmi, Bryant and Joe De La Salle followed in quick succession and it was twenty minutes in before the home side got a meaningful foothold and forced two free-kicks that Norris watched go high over his goal. Royston’s overall possession play was impressive and whilst perhaps due to the pitch the final ball was getting away from them the style and standard of football being shown by the Crows was much improved and welcome. Despite this good football the second goal came from a very route one move in the 32nd minute as Norris punted the ball long up the middle for one high bounce to be met by the alert Fehmi who expertly lobbed it over the advancing Leighton keeper.
Royston kept the football tempo high and the defensive unit were strong with Bradshaw and De La Salle in commanding form and the lively Taylor Parr was providing surges forward whenever possible. Both Lockett and Bryant were showing great energy and endeavour in this first half and supplying Fehmi and the supporting Edwards with good ball regularly. A late pressure surge by Leighton saw the midfield trio soak this up and Edwards ended the half with a tight cross goal shot.
Easley must have been pleased with the work-rate and shape of his team in the first half and they all took the field with no changes for the second period.
The second half showed similar sparks of good football at times but once again gilt-edged chances were created through sharp and precise movement but the finishing at times was extremely lacking. Edwards and Cambridge both had efforts on goal that should have caused the home-team keeper more trouble and the hard-working Crows couldn’t get the third goal to kill off their opponents.
Ryan Lockett continued another impressive match with great work up the right flank and whilst Leighton had spells of forward play, for most of the half the defence coped admirably and Norris was seldom tested.
Taylor Parr, who had taken a knock, was replaced on the left by Lewis Endacott on the hour and Ryan Ingrey was brought on for Cambridge with ten minutes to go, which saw Edwards dropped back and Rob Mason replaced Fehmi with five minutes to go. Ingrey saw a shot go wide when he knows he should have done better.
Disappointingly, the Crows' clean-sheet was lost when a seemingly innocuous cross and head down bypassed Norris in the 93rd minute but Royston saw out the little remaining time to secure victory and take home the deserved but equally welcome three league points.
Team: Norris, Collins, Parr (Endacott), Bradshaw, De La Salle, Edwards, Cambridge (Ingrey), Spencer, Lockett, Fehmi (Mason), Bryant.
Subs not used – Robins, Darlow