|Date||Saturday 8 March 2014|
|Match||Northwood v Royston Town|
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One|
Royston Town effectively pressed the self-destruct button in this match and possibly their season on a dismal Saturday to surrender a lead and all three important points to a competitive, but one dimensional, Northwood team. The club site itself was in poor repair but the pitch was in excellent condition which should have suited Royston’s supposed but unseen style of quick, pressing ground based football.
With only one change to the team that beat Beaconsfield SYCOB on Tuesday we saw Robbie Nightingale playing left sided in a width less midfield, Craig Hammond dropping to the bench and Reece Dobson joining Rob Mason upfront to complete a 4-4-2 formation.
The Crows began with obvious hostility with assumed instruction from management to impose themselves on this match. It was too much for a baying home side and crowd and blatant mistimed and destructive challenges simply earned early yellow cards from a disappointingly malleable official that the home team continued to manipulate cleverly all match.
Football wise, the first twenty minute period, whilst being strewn with over-zealous away team challenges was mainly the visitors striving to get the ball down on this decent surface and 17 minutes in a good diagonal pass from right-back Ross Collins found Dobson whose quick feet did the rest, skilfully bamboozling his chaser and slotting the ball low past Berkeley Laurencin.
Robbie Mason showed his disagreement to a poor refereeing decision and earned himself an unnecessary yellow card for dissent and visibly boiling his red mist turned to red card, receiving a second yellow following a continued off the ball ugly skirmish with home team skipper Mark Burgess. This dismissal changed this game and left a previously dominant Crow’s line up out-numbered and unable to press on and increase their early slender lead.
The half-time score remained at 0-1 and Steve Castle made no immediate changes, leaving his narrow midfield to work hard to supply increasingly desperate long balls forward to the willing but out-muscled lone figure of Dobson.
With most of the play being seen in the away team half it was only a matter of time before the numerical supremacy told and the equaliser came. On 68 minutes George Nicholas collected a right wing pass and fired a low shot through defenders and attackers legs to level the match.
Castle immediately sent on Adie Cambridge for Nightingale but six minutes later the Crows were behind as Nick Thompson raced diagonally from his goal to take out the nippy Karl Oliyide and Michael Murray banged in the penalty. Craig Hammond was sent on up top at the expense of midfielder Spyros Mentis and the visitors went three at the back.
With only one team in this game Thompson redeemed himself slightly when he made a fantastic diving save to push an effort round the post but had no answer on 83 minutes as a cheaply conceded free-kick 35 yards out was thundered into the top corner by Dave Lawrence to put the visiting supporters out of their disbelieving misery.
One up and whilst not necessarily cruising, Royston were dominant in this game and it can only be said that poor discipline cost them. Mason’s under orders belligerent style and unforgivable loss of control which led to him being ordered from the pitch had direct impact on this match, but the whole side were guilty of indiscipline in various forms and they got their just rewards.
Team: Thompson, Collins, Dhillon, Wharton, Bradshaw, Bridges, Mentis (Hammond), Ingrey, Nightingale (Cambridge), Mason, Dobson.
Subs not used – Lockett, Parr, Edwards.