|Date||Tuesday 3 September2013|
|Match||Northampton Spencer v Royston Town
|Competition||FA Cup: Preliminary Round Replay
|Royston Scorers||Mason, Ingrey, Hammond
On Tuesday night Royston Town FC travelled north to play Northampton Spencer FC in a replay of the preliminary round of the FA Cup and to try and put Saturday’s poor 3-3 performance behind them. Paul Attfield continues to battle against squad injuries and unavailability and fielded another new defensive line-up with Tom Pepper switching from left to right back, Lewis Endacott moving into centre-back duty alongside Joe DeLaSalle and youngster Billy Baird being given his first team debut at left back. This restructure enabled Adie Cambridge to move up to his more favoured midfield role.
The Crows started positively and showed fast paced movement and this created a good early chance that Ryan Ingrey shot just wide. The home side however got the opening goal – and took the lead in this tie for the first time – on 12 minutes after forcing two scrappy corners that were not really dealt with, the impressive Northampton Spencer striker, Paul Pickering, drove unchallenged through the centre of the Royston defence and finished confidently low past George Lawton. Royston almost responded immediately with an Adie Cambridge free-kick being headed wide by Craig Hammond but sustained Crows’ pressure and a fine blast from Ross Collins that forced a tip over from the home side keeper led to a Cambridge near post corner that the no-nonsense and prolific Rob Mason headed powerfully in to level matters in the 19th minute. Royston controlled this game for the next fifteen minutes, with good periods of possession, crafting half chances, notably a sharp turn and shot from Hammond that was well saved and they took the lead in this match six minutes before half-time with a top quality football move and goal. Fine interaction between Hammond and Mason sent Ryan Lockett scampering up the left and produced a superb left foot cross that the reliable Ryan Ingrey arrived perfectly to bullet a header past the flailing home keeper. It was 2-1 to the visitors at the break.
The second half started with Royston trying to regain the tempo and pace from the first half but some of their earlier control and composure was lacking. To their credit the battling home team brought this exciting cup-tie back level seven minutes into the second half as a long cross was well won at the far post with a header back and saw it fall perfectly for Hall to strike firmly in to the delight of the home crowd. Despite this home guard resilience and superb cup fever endeavour it has to be said that Royston stepped up the pressure from this point and looked the more likely to score again. Robbie Nightingale replaced Adie Cambridge on the hour and the Crows work rate didn’t dip. A strong penalty shout was denied and Tom Pepper drove on and put a sharp shot across the goal just wide. A foul on Lewis Endacott on the edge of the box and the resulting free-kick caused the home team problems and the indecision eventually led to Rob Mason heading in only to be denied by the offside flag. This tight and tough match was ultimately decided in the 71st minute with some strong and persistent ball play by Ryan Ingrey keeping his feet under strong challenge in the penalty area and cutting back a fine pass for Craig Hammond to power home a high finish from six yards.
Northampton Spencer kept going right to the end with their dogged determination but their fate was almost sealed when their number four was adjudged last man as he fouled Robbie Mason as he was clear through and saw the inevitable red card. Big Joe DeLaSalle struck the free-kick just wide and the following sensible team possession play saw out the final minutes.
This was on the night a fair result, but it has to be said that Northampton Spencer FC can be thoroughly proud of their players, supporters and officials with how they went about their business in both close and competitive FA Cup games.
Team: Lawton, Pepper, Baird, Endacott, De La Salle, Cambridge(c) (Nightingale – 60), Collins, Ingrey, Lockett, Hammond, Mason.
Subs not used – Edwards, O’Brien