|Date||Tuesday 17 January 2017|
|Match||Royston Town v Farnborough|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Powell, Nolan(2), Scott Bridges, Murray|
This was a big night for the Crows and they met the challenge with all the qualities needed and more.
The clash of the two leading teams in the division would always be a big game – but at just over halfway through the season it was not a title decider – but it certainly went a long way to acknowledging the promotion favourites.
Royston were superb from whistle to whistle – not giving Farnborough a moment of settling time on the ball, closing down space with energy and vigour, intelligent off the ball running, probing and targeting weaker areas and pleasingly back to top quality, clinical finishing in front of goal.
This was a real team effort as although there were stars tonight out there on the pitch it was a black and white collective effort from all of the up for it management and playing squad.
On the front foot from the start the Crows challenged the defensive line and had both full backs concerned and busy early on.
The first 15 minutes sped by with mainly the Crows with good movement and efforts on goal from Ryan Ingrey, Josh Castiglione and Martel Powell, all looking sharp but their efforts were initially just off target.
Ingrey was causing havoc up the right wing tormenting the left back and on 17 minutes put over a high cross for someone to connect to – that someone tonight was Powell rising high between markers and arching his back for power to head in a firm goal from about 10 yards. A rare and quality headed goal from Martel Powell. 1-0.
Again the Crows dominated all over the pitch and the midfield were working hard and quickly to regain briefly lost possession. Notably Adam Watkins was clean and tidy in all that he did tonight, keeping and moving the ball calmly and bringing all players into the attack with supreme ability and confidence.
The continued work-rate and pressure told and the Crows hit two more goals – both from Matt Nolan in a two-minute salvo – that blew away the Farnborough resistance and ambition in this match.
Ingrey and Castiglione swapped wings and now it was the latter up the right causing the away team problems. On 40 minutes his jinking run again bamboozled the left back and he put over a midriff high cross that Nolan balanced himself perfectly and swung a firm right foot volley superbly into the goal. 2-0.
A minute later and the Crows were celebrating again – a free kick was struck in high by Stuart Bridges and Adam Murray leapt and won the ball, heading it diagonally back across the goal to find Nolan waiting who himself headed the ball back across the keeper and into the net. 3-0.
Half Time – Royston 3 Farnborough 0. The break brought all three substitutes on from the visitors.
The second half saw no drop in concentration, fervour and sheer endeavour from the outstanding Royston team. We saw good efforts from Ryan Towner, again doing a good job at right-back, Castiglione and Powell again and Farnborough could quickly see there would be no quick reply for them in this second period of play.
The hour mark saw the Crows score their fourth goal. More good work from Ingrey up the right and he sent over what briefly looked like a too deep cross – but Castiglione did brilliantly with a first time volleyed left foot hook back into the central danger area for skipper Scott Bridges to arrive and pick his spot to score. 4-0.
The hard-working Martel Powell gave way for Danny May to come on on 70 minutes.
Farnborough had a five-minute spell with rare forays forward and although they didn’t really threaten the Royston goal, the defence worked well and effectively to keep these attacks out.
More changes with Ryan Ingrey and Adam Watkins getting well deserved applause as they left the field for Kaan Fehmi and Rod Orlando-Young to come on and do their bit.
The game saw a fifth goal with this time a long corner reaching Dan Brathwaite ready to control and shoot in that was well saved by the busy Aaron Bufton and Scott Bridges headed back in for Adam Murray to unleash a thunderbolt centrally from the edge of the box and it powered through the crowd to find the goal. 5-0.
The game was seen out to the end with no less concentration than when it started and the Crows not only won the three points that makes them 8 points clear at the top, with a game still in hand, but a clear psychological blow being inflicted on their closest promotion rival.
It was a great evening for the whole openly ambitious Club, backed up by able and engaged top quality players.
Team: Welch, Towner, Brathwaite, Bridges Scott, Murray, Bridges Stuart, Ingrey (Orlando-Young), Watkins (Fehmi), Nolan, Powell (May), Castiglione.
Subs not used – Frater, Coldicott-Stevens.