|Date||Tuesday 27 September 2016|
|Match||Royston Town v Barton Rovers|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Bradshaw, Murray, Scott Bridges|
Royston Town were left embarrassed by score-line and performance on a bleak Tuesday night following a smash and grab visit by near neighbours Barton Rovers who had all the answers to the Crows confused questions.
The Rovers totally deserved their win and the statistics below demonstrate that out of seven of their efforts on goal six were on target and six registered as goals – with strikers Connor Calcutt and Rod Orlando-Young looking lively and lethal with the Crows defence playing second best all game.
The home side were blown away in a painful first 13 minutes as Barton sped to a quick three goal lead that left the team, management and crowd in an early state of shock and disbelief.
The first goal came in the third minute as the Crows were left flat-footed by a swift breakaway and Alex O’Brien squared an unchallenged cross for the ball to linger and Calcutt was alert enough to bundle home. 0-1.
Three minutes later and it was two. A suicidal cross pitch pass from Spyros Mentis was punished as fellow defenders were out of position to go forward and Billy Adcock joyfully stuck it in. 0-2.
Bad to worse as on 13 minutes a clumsy tackle by Adam Murray in an innocuous position led to a penalty that Calcutt got up off the ground to shoot low to his left past the exposed and shell-shocked Joe Welch. 0-3.
Royston had their own penalty awarded as Murray was clambered all over in the box and the usually reliable Jack Bradshaw stepped up to take only to see Lewis Todd dive right at a comfortable height to save.
The Crows did get one back on 19 minutes as Bradshaw was on hand – but lucky to be on the pitch following a ridiculously reckless tackle that saw yellow instead of a possibly deserved red – as he tapped home following a parried Murray header from a hanging free-kick delivery. 1-3.
Three minutes later and Royston cut the deficit to one goal as the powerful Murray again won a clean header – this time from a Danny May corner – and planted a firm header past Todd. 2-3.
At this stage Royston were back in this frantic game and we had saw five goals in twenty minutes and a saved penalty.
The game play inevitably slowed slightly as both sides caught their collective breaths and cancelled each other out for a period and it was clear the next goal was vital.
Steve Castle chose to replace Mentis with Gus Scott-Morriss on 36 minutes and we saw right-back May moved to a midfield position, a position he has recently played, but this move served to nullify his dangerous ball delivery from a deeper position that Scott-Morriss did not replicate.
Unfortunately for the boys in black and white they were immediately pole-axed by a superb strike from the dangerous Orlando-Young in the 37th minute – a goal bound bullet that was both unstoppable and effectively match-winning. 2-4.
The Crows sought the refuge of the half-time dressing room hoping the management could provide reasons and more specifically answers for the position they found themselves in.
No immediately half-time personnel changes seen but we saw Scott-Morriss playing a higher right-hand position with skipper Scott Bridges moved to his more effective central role having been isolated at times wide right in the first half.
A comparatively quieter first 6 minutes to this half as while Rovers seemed less pushy they were certainly keen to counter attack and break-away when the Crows goal seeking thrusting regularly broke down.
Castle took Simon Thomas off seven minutes in replacing him with Gary Cohen and five minutes later John Frendo was replaced by Stuart Bridges with the substitute taking up a central defensive role and Murray being thrown upfront as make-shift striker without doubt providing a plan B option of long and quick ball forward – but taking away Frendo’s superb touch and hold up play.
The killer blow came in the 74th minute as another superb strike, this time from Jordan Wynter, rocketed past Welch and put any hope of the Crows scrambling back into this game out of sight.
The Crows huffed and puffed but had no real penetration and the set up and formation was invisible from the side-line and any cumulative work was easily snubbed out by a defence well led by veteran defender Steve Gentle who showed continued sharp anticipation and organisational leadership.
Orlando-Young twisted the knife in the 87th minute and finished off a lightning right-wing break that was swift in execution and clinical in finishing. 2-6.
The Crows got a consolation 88th minute goal as Scott Bridges tapped in from what looked like an offside position following more good work by Murray. 3-6.
A night to forget for the Crows as conceding six goals at home is unacceptable for a promotion seeking side and with a lot of players starting and ending up playing out of their usual and favoured positions did not help cohesion of play.
Another home game on Saturday against Marlow FC and this will again be a tough challenge for the Crows who need to re-group and go again quickly.
Team: Welch, May, Brathwaite, Bridges Sco, Murray, Frater, Mentis (Scott-Morriss), Bradshaw, Frendo (Bridges Stu), Thomas (Cohen), Towner. Subs not used – Fehmi, Powell.
|ROYSTON TOWN||BARTON ROVERS|
|6||EFFORTS ON TARGET||6|
|1||EFFORTS OFF TARGET||1|