|Date||Saturday 28 December 2013|
|Match||Potters Bar Town v Royston Town
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One
|Royston Scorers||Mason(3), Hammond|
Steve Castle used this away league fixture to shuffle the pack slightly with his squad availability, team line up and play formation all seeing interesting changes. The pitch was soggy to say the least and this would not help either team with their build up play, but despite this it didn’t detract from a lively match that saw good chances at both ends.
Royston started positively, but it was the home team who had the first real chance in the 8th minute with a jinking right wing run and shot into the net unfortunately for their supporters being called offside. More attack minded midfielders, Ryan Ingrey, Antonio Murray and Ross Collins all seized their opportunities to surge forward to support the strikers and some intelligent runs and overlaps brought half chances – notably Collins’ run and cross for Murray to shoot just over and Craig Hammond brought a good save from the Potters Bar keeper with a low effort.
The home side were also trying to put some moves together and a too easy cross forced Will Norris into a blocking save and another parried Scholar’s drive rebounded for their follow up striker to blast over. Royston asserted their authority and on 24 minutes a strong run and overlap by Lewis Endacott culminated in a low near post cross that the alert Robbie Mason smashed in from close range to open the scoring. A poor pitch induced scrappy ten minute period ensued with a number of slips and give-aways from both sides keeping play mainly in the middle of the skill levelling pitch.
On 45 minutes, the marauding Mason was clumsily felled and Adie Cambridge delivered a floated free-kick that the defender could only flick away from Joe De La Salle and this touch only carried the ball to Mason who buried his, and his team’s, second with a sharp, confident right foot volley. Frustratingly, straight from the restart the Scholars drove up the right in a good football move and the resultant pass found Usama Hamdon who converted well to halt the Crow’s run of clean sheets and to remind their visitors that this game was not over.
A half-time change saw Carl Edwards brought on for Ross Collins and a frantic five opening minutes ensued with the home side bringing an early stop from Norris. Thirteen minutes into the second half and Robbie Mason completed his impressive hat-trick, running on to a good through ball, side-stepping the out-coming keeper’s close down play and powered the ball centrally into the exposed net. Potters Bar were still battling to stay in this match and Carl Edwards produced a brilliant goal-saving tackle to deny the Scholars. On 65 minutes Kaan Fehmi replaced the superb Rob Mason and Fehmi was involved immediately spear-heading a strong period of Crow’s pressure play that saw some frantic and determined home side resilient defending. A fourth goal did seem inevitable following this pressure and it came with a short corner move that found the hard working Ryan Ingrey who delivered a low shot-cum cross that fell to Craig Hammond at the far post who tapped in from two yards to complete the scoring.
This was a pleasing result against a decent Potters Bar team who played some good football at times on this challenging surface. Royston Town also adapted well to these heavy conditions to seize the victory and take their unbeaten run to six games as they finished 2013 in style and worked hard to set up the second, and potentially exciting, half of the season.
Team: Norris, Collins (Edwards), Dhillon, Bradshaw, Endacott, De La Salle, Ingrey, Cambridge, Murray, Mason (Fehmi), Hammond.
Subs not used – Robins, Parr, Lockett.