|Date||Saturday 5 March 2016|
|Match||Royston Town v Beaconsfield SYCOB|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
The expectant Garden Walk crowd unfortunately witnessed more promotion seeking dropped points, an abject, anxious team performance, coupled with some perplexing and unsettling substitutions that ultimately led to an overall disappointing afternoon for the Crows.
With under par performances all over the park it all culminated in a decent Beaconsfield team taking a point home and arguably they could have plundered all three if it wasn’t for two rescuing goals from substitute Ryan Towner.
With the pitch looking heavy but playable thanks to hard work by the Royston ground staff we saw two early half chances for the Crows both falling to striker Simon Thomas who couldn’t get a shot off on either opportunity.
The Rams gave Ron Yates a scare on 6 minutes as a high left wing ball in eluded him and bounced back off of the far post which he then gratefully grabbed the loose ball.
Skipper Scott Bridges was working hard and his impetus led to forward movement that Beaconsfield thwarted with either clumsy or calculated fouls but the Crows couldn’t capitalise on the numerous dangerous dead ball openings from free-kicks or corners.
Despite a hail storm, a purple patch from Rhys Hoenes promised a score but his running and lay backs came to nothing as the box fillers looked sluggish. A lunging challenge by Erkan Okay drew a yellow card and the victim had to leave the field with a painful ankle injury and the fragmented and poor quality first half remained goalless.
No immediate second half changes from Steve Castle as he trusted his incumbents to make the break through.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was mainly home team pressure forcing a series of four hard won corners with Chris Watters supplying good ball in that was begging for a hero to finish off. An Okay drive and cross back looked promising but again the Crows strike-force were second to the ball.
Cue the 60 minute substitutions and Castle chose to completely rearrange his back line taking off Danny May, replacing him with the ineffective Okay at right back and bringing on last week’s match winner Ryan Towner and removed the post injury returning Dan Brathwaite to see new signing Ryan Frater – not quite looking match fit – to make his debut for the Crows at centre back.
These defensive changes seemed to completely unsettle the balance of his previous clean sheet side and the Rams gratefully seized the initiative as they had a goal chalked off for offside as a striker tapped in what looked an already goal-bound shot on the line.
However, It was the Crows that took the lead on 63 minutes as substitute Towner put over a corner that caused sufficient panic to be half cleared and fed back out to him and Towner’s powerful on target shot took a cruel deflection past Sam Bunting in the Rams goal giving him no chance. 1-0.
Almost immediately the Rams drew back level as they worked a shooting opportunity that Ryan Haugh seized with glee powering an unstoppable perfectly hit drive into the Royston net. 1-1.
Six minutes later and Beaconsfield made the most of some shocking Royston defender’s shape and marking and put together a good move up the right exposing left back Watters, leaving him in no man’s land and a cross was delivered, not cleared, and found Sam Deadfield alone and unmarked by Okay and had time to place an unchallenged shot by Yates despite the Royston stopper trying his best to rescue his misplaced defence. 1-2.
Castle immediately sent on Reece Dobson for Ryan Ingrey as this game was now getting away from him and he needed a striker to step up for his team.
Ten minutes to go and Bridges had a half chance as the ball bounced up in the six yard box but he couldn’t get a shot off and again Hoenes delivered a good cross but again it fell to a guy in a red shirt rather than a white one.
In the 85th minute this hectic pressure did bring an equaliser for the increasingly desperate home team as a Dobson cross this time fell right and the alert Towner had time and presence of mind to finish into the internal side netting. 2-2.
The Crows pushed for a winner and the previously innocuous Thomas had a gilt-edged chance to seize all three points on 88 minutes as a corner was delivered and it fell perfectly to the big striker who in his excitement rushed his effort and volleyed over from 4 yards when glory and the net beckoned large and inviting.
The Crows saw the game playing teams around them all securing maximum points as expected and consolidating their promotion pushes – but it is still all to play for and Royston have the ideal opportunity to put this disappointing setback behind them as we welcome struggling Leighton Town to Garden Walk on Tuesday, before entertaining title rival AFC Rushden and Diamonds next Saturday.
Team: Yates, May (Towner), Watters, Bridges Scott, McDevitt, Brathwaite (Frater), Hull, Okay, Ingrey (Dobson), Thomas, Hoenes.
Subs not used – Powell, Cohen.