|Date||Sunday 4 September 2011|
|Match||Romford v Royston Town
|Competition||FA Cup: Preliminary Round|
|Royston Scorers||O'Brien, Lockett
|Man of Match||–|
This was a well anticipated game against opposition a rung higher in the non league pyramid and given The Crows' form of late but disappointingly the team struggled to find any momentum until the latter stages of the game and that combined with defensive errors for all three goals contributed towards their exit.
Kaan Fehmi and Tom Malins failed to recover from mid week injuries but two players returned from holiday with Rhys Lawrence in the starting team and Ryan Lockett rushing straight to the game for a place on the bench. John McGrandles, Matt Standen, Tom Whitaker and Jason Beck were also missing.
Large parts of the first half were dominated by Romford. Most of Royston's attacks were broken up far too easily with poor decision making and passing and for what ever effort was given, most was having to retrieve mistakes and the hosts were make to look quite threatening. Their pacey forward was quick onto any mistakes and within the first two minutes he was able to latch onto a couple of mistakes and race clear but Jorden Gibson blocked well.
The warning wasn't heeded and a hopeful ball forward 4 minutes later was not dealt with and the striker rounded Gibson and scored.
This failed to galvanise the Crows and a free header from a corner went inches wide and another home move ended with a ten yard strike that clipped the top off the crossbar. The failed scoring opportunities would haunt the Romford side as out of nothing The Crows put together a neat move and whilst the goalkeeper raced from his line to take a simple ground ball he lost his handling and Dalton O'Brien swept the ball into the net ten minutes before half time.
This helped impose a little bit of stability into the visitors and a half time score line they hardly deserved. Another injury materialised wit Ashley Grinham departing due to a groin strain but some really poor play saw Royston surrender their position within just 40 seconds of the restart.
Losing simple possession from kick off the ball was played into the area and despite two chances to clear the ball was hooked home from close range. This was the worse possible start for Royston and it got worse ten minutes later when an underhit back pass was latched onto by a forward and whilst Gibson blocked the initial effort the swift follow up was reacted to better by the Romford player and his 14 yard effort was fierce and precise.
This brought about swift changes to the line up and formation with Ryan Lockett entering the fray and the unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation helped the visitors gain the control they needed to give them a chance. The life in the team materialised as they went on to dominate the final 20 minutes. Ricky Young had a close range shot unknowingly deflected wide, Ross Collins had a great chance when played in by Lockett but delayed his shot and a defender recovered to block for a corner and Carl Edwards shot straight at the keeper when well placed after a good move.
Royston needed a goal and Ryan Lockett headed in firmly from a left wing cross with five minutes remaining but despite long balls and constant visiting pressure there was no way through the home rearguard and Gibson made the last save of the game with a fine block in the final moments after a counter attack found Royston short at the back.
Paul Attfield commented: "I'm deeply disappointed we could find so little quality and push in our game until the final moments. Collectively we just couldn't get any momentum or quality in our game and that combined with too many basic mistakes on the ball and mistakes for all three of their goals would cost you any game. We were probably a bit unfortunate not to get something from the game late on but over the 90 minutes we weren't good enough to win the game ."
Team – Gibson, Endacott (Ratcliff), Grinham (Fehmi), Cain, Bradshaw, Martin Standen, Edwards, Collins, Young, O'Brien, Lawrence (Lockett) Unused : Harris, Howard