|Date||Saturday 20 February 2016|
|Match||Royston Town v Arlesey Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Thomas(2), Bradshaw(2)|
After Tuesday’s frustratingly late match call off it has been a long week before Royston Town got back into action following last Saturday’s disappointing display and result and a home game against local rivals Arlesey Town provided the perfect opportunity to get back on track.
Today’s Visitors Arlesey are having a tough season after being relegated from the Premier division last year and are fighting hard to avoid back to back drops and as proven last week at this stage of the season no game can be taken lightly.
The Crows starting line-up was a slightly new look with Daniel Brathwaite and Erkan Okay both failing fitness tests we saw Tommy Hull make his first start in a white shirt, as did Gary Cohen and a full debut was handed to mid-week signing Martel Powell in the number ten position – and in anticipation of further strengthening we saw other new signing Ryan Frater looking on from the side-lines.
Playing into the swirling wind in the first half we saw Royston’s forward motion held up in the wind often and the Two Blues of Arlesey were looking to push the home side back quickly as these forward forays broke down. New man Powell showed some good early vision and touches that brought his colleagues into play and Jack Bradshaw tested keeper Nick Thompson on 8 minutes that the ex-Crow blocked with his legs.
Simon Thomas showed promise of goals to come as he latched onto a good Liam McDevitt long ball but he could not quite get a shot off this time. The Crows started exercising more patient build up as the earlier long high ball tactic was being dealt with easily. This more controlled approach brought reward on 20 minutes as a fine pass by Scott Bridges again found the eager and alert Thomas and this time he displayed good strength and poise to run on and finish with accuracy. 1-0.
Rhys Hoenes started to feature with good runs and his surge up the left and cut back pass was just miss-controlled by Cohen before he could get a shot off.
It took until the 24th minute before Ron Yates was asked any questions and a lively right wing run brought a chance but the shot was soft and straight at the Royston keeper.
Again debutant Powell did decent work and good link up play between Thomas and Hoenes also looked promising but the winger’s curled effort was parried for a corner.
The wind affected half time score remained at 1-0 to Royston.
An early second half Two Blues’ free-kick found Yates switched on and vigilant to make a good stop and almost immediately the Crows broke forward and Hoenes was tripped as he sped into the box and Bradshaw seized the ball for the spot kick. His powerful direct shot was well stopped by the upright Thompson who also reacted well to the loose second ball chance to save well.
Ryan Ingrey replaced Cohen on 52 minutes and Royston looked to turn this wind advantage and high tempo start to the second half into more goals.
Arlesey produced a great move on 55 minutes as the ball was poached in midfield and a run up the right, cross and set up pass saw Jevani Brown shoot in to level the game. 1-1.
From this point on it was mainly the home team looking to score again and they created numerous half chances to restate their match and league intentions.
On 62 minutes the lead was regained with more good work from big man Thomas who again showed immaculate power and determination to spin and drive on to hold off his marker and side foot nicely just inside the left hand post. 2-1.
The increasingly lively Hoenes was causing all sorts of problems and a tricky run and low lateral cross brought a fine forward lunge from keeper Thompson to cut the ball off from a prone side-foot in by Ingrey.
Steve Castle made his second substitutions by replacing Powell for Ryan Towner and then Thomas with Rob Mason demonstrating the strength in depth, despite injuries, of this current Crows’ squad.
The dominant Crows added two further goals – both by way of the penalty spot – with Hoenes being felled on 66 minutes and this time Bradshaw – showing no sign of the previous saved effort – made no mistake. 3-1.
Then again on 73 minutes Ingrey, going away from the goal, was recklessly tripped and again Bradshaw powered home the penalty. 4-1.
Two last ditch bits of defending stopped the score-line increasingly as a wind gathered dangerous corner was headed brilliantly off the line and over by Harry Carr and a Mason header from another corner was also cleared away at the last second.
The Crows needed this one and duly delivered. With other results going for us it makes Tuesday’s away game versus current favourites Egham Town extremely interesting indeed as the season ending run in starts to gain momentum.
Team: Yates, May, Watters, Bridges Scott, McDevitt, Hull, Cohen (Ingrey), Bradshaw, Thomas (Mason), Powell (Towner), Hoenes.
Subs not used – Scott-Morriss, Dobson.