|Date||Saturday 8 October 2011|
|Match||Leverstock Green v Royston Town|
|Competition||Spartan South Midlands League: Premier Division|
|Man of Match||Ross Collins|
Royston gave a thoroughly committed and dominating performance to largely overwhelm their hosts and current league leaders Leverstock Green.
There were selection problems for manager Paul Attfield to address before kick off with Jorden Gibson, Tom Malins and John McGrandles all missing this important game through injuries sustained in midweek and Martin Standen just passing a pre-match fitness test.
The Crows manager elected to play Jack Bradshaw and Ashley Grinham together in the heart of defence with Luke Robins making his first start since his return from Cambridge City and Ricky Young swapping flanks. In goal 18 year old Will Norris was thrown in at the deep end and excelled in what he was called on to do throughout the game.
Such was Royston's dominance that Norris was not called on to make a single save in the game as the hosts struggled to create any clear chances in a performance of caution rather than one of an attacking nature.
That maybe is a bit harsh on Royston's defensive performance, which was disciplined and concentrated – something that had been lacking in recent games.
Throughout the game the percentage of ball possession was well in Royston's favour but in the first half this was met by a well organised defensive wall and a packed central midfield and any chances were few and far between. Some neat moves up to the final third were just lacking clinical final passes but with Leverstock playing so many players behind the ball they couldn't support their forward and wide players well enough and therefore lacked attacking ambition.
The closest Royston came to scoring was from a Jack Bradshaw header who met a well delivered free kick from ten yards with the ball arrowing just over the crossbar.
To their credit Royston upped the tempo of their game more in the second half, moving the ball quicker and sharper. The off the ball movement of Ross Collins, Ricky Young, Kaan Fehmi and Ryan Lockett in particular became more difficult to contain and it was team and clever ball movement that opened up the home defensive unit for the opening goal on 57 minutes.
Another move starting in defence worked down the left channel with Ricky Young holding the ball up on the edge of the area and a decisive back heel from the winger outwitted two defenders and the overlapping Ross Collins raced onto the ball and fired past the advancing keeper from a narrow angle.
This prompted a formation change for the hosts as they had to show more attacking intent but Royston's dominace in all areas continued and the opening goal gave The Crows added confidence as they started to create more space for themselves. They constantly looked like adding to their lead and with 15 minutes to go the crucial second goal arrived in some style.
Another fine move from defence was played up to Ryan Lockett just outside the area and he cushioned the ball into the path of Ross Collins and the captain didn't break stride as he thumped a 25 yard rocket into the top corner giving the keeper no chance. The goal itself deserved to win any game but at this it served up the team's desire to hold on to the lead and with a little more care the lead could have been added to before full time.
Royston had conceded 10 goals in their previous four outtings but the unit were solid throughout the entire game with young Will Norris's handling in goal admirable when called upon and a clean sheet was as welcome as the three points.
Team: Norris, Endacott, A. Fehmi, Grinham, Bradshaw, Standen, Collins, Young, K. Fehmi, Lockett, Robins (O'Brien) Unused : Plowright, Bronti, Edwards