|Date||Tuesday 10 November 2015|
|Match||Royston Town v Bedford Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Robins(2), Okay|
This was a decent performance from the midweek Crows and certainly greatly improved from Saturday’s muddled showing. It was a good fast paced match with both teams showing positive intent on a late soaked, heavy pitch. The Eagles did end up only having nine men on the pitch – but this was not indicative of the well contested but not overzealous game.
The Crows’ bench was weighted on the defensive side and Steve Castle chose to leave striker Robbie Mason out of the squad altogether. Jack Bradshaw was asked to do the hard work in the holding midfield role and didn’t disappoint with an industrious man of the match performance and Luke Robins was given the number 9 shirt and instructed to lead the line.
It was a lively start from the Crows with a second minute free-kick being delivered by right back Danny May that skimmed into the box and Bradshaw swung a low left foot shot straight at Eagles’ keeper Tyler Reading. Three minutes later and Royston were one up as a good move up the left wing initiated by Daniel Brathwaite found Erkan Okay deep and his clever cut back sought out the arriving Robins and the frontman’s first time left foot shot was powered by the diving Reading. 1-0.
Both teams exchanged punches with flurries of forward zest and on 18 minutes a good Bedford move only saw a hurried shot put wide of Ron Yates’ goal. The Crows struck back and on 20 minutes had doubled their lead as Robins flicked on with a good header and recipient Rhys Hoenes saw his own shot blocked well, but Okay was suitably alert to place a controlled finish low into the corner of the net. 2-0.
On the half hour mark Robins was again creative and his forward pass set up Ryan Ingrey but keeper Reading was out quickly to block effectively. The visitors had a good five minute spell and produced some half chances but their shooting was poor and the Crows re-asserted themselves creating further attempts with a header from Hoenes and a fine bar skimming shot by the effervescent Ingrey. A late Bedford free-kick was blasted well over and the high pace first half ended with a deserved 2-0 lead to the Crows.
No immediate Royston changes and the second half resumed still at top speed and the good movement by the midfield trio, coupled with eager front running from Robins, Ingrey and Hoenes kept the Bedford defence more than occupied. This constant pressure paid and on 56 minutes Hoenes intercepted a loose midfield pass and sent through a defence piercing ball for Robins to run onto and his exquisite first touch was the key as he gained himself enough time to choose his spot low left in the Eagles net. 3-0.
Bedford struck back almost immediately with a superb finish from Mor Serigne Diop who hit an unstoppable, intuitive low drive past the diving Yates. 3-1.
This goal briefly revitalised the Eagles and the Crows dug deep to reorganise and Castle urged his troops to get closer to their opponents to stifle this resurgence.
Gus Scott-Morris replaced May as the first of three defensive changes.
A mighty goal-mouth scramble ensued on 66 minutes as Royston again probed dangerously but somehow Bedford kept them out but the Crows smelt blood and the game moved further into the host’s control as on 66 minutes the surging Ingrey was taken out by out-coming keeper Reading as the striker broke through on his own and the guilty party was almost walking before the referee had produced the inevitable red card for the last man misdemeanour.
The resultant penalty, taken by the hat-trick seeking Robins, was brilliantly saved by replacement stopper Maxime Fondop Siwe, who went on to make many inspired saves in the last 20 minutes as the Crows exerted their dominance.
Two more substitutions re-jigged the back line again with Chris Watters coming in for Brathwaite and Joe DeLaSalle replacing the impressive and hard-working Ryan Towner with DeLaSalle taking the centre-half role and George Powell moving into midfield.
It was all Royston in the last ten minutes but the new keeper did really well and Bedford’s only retort was increasingly bad tempered and ill-advised challenges and they were lucky to not have their numbers reduced with a shocking challenge from Dave Moli on Scott-Morriss that amazingly only saw yellow. However, the visitors were reduced to 9 men right on the full time mark as a shoulder to shoulder ball chase escalated and the Eagles’ player lashed out head high twice and the referee quite rightly produced his red card for the second time tonight to mar what was a well contested football match.
Fulltime – Royston Town 3 Bedford Town 1.
Team: Yates, May (Scott-Morriss), Brathwaite (Watters), Bradshaw, McDevitt, Powell, Towner (De La Salle), Okay, Robins, Ingrey, Hoenes.
Subs not used – Stuart Bridges, Castiglione.