|Date||Saturday 22 September 2012|
|Match||Royston Town v Godalming Town
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Central Division One|
|Crows MoM||Jack Bradshaw|
The Crows were defeated in the league for the first time this season by current league leaders Godalming Town who on the day were sharper in both penalty boxes in what was a largely entertaining and evenly contested match.
The home side's inability to deal with Godalming's set plays was the highlight of the first two goals and despite a fine strike by Jack Bradshaw with fifteen minutes remaining the visitors left Garden Walk with the points from a late breakaway.
Godalming were easily the strongest outfit Paul Attfield's side have played this season turning up with five wins from five games but on this viewing The Crows are not that far behind if this is the set standard and on another day the outcome could have been far different.
In the opening minute Royston could have had the lead when a brisk move down the left ended with a 20 yard shot from Carl Edwards that the keeper saved low to his right.
It was the visitors who settled better though and they had periods of sustained pressure that the hosts dealt with well. Royston's defending was largely very effective against a very fine attacking unit with the home side always looking likely to cause problems on the counter attack.
Godalming could have had a 12th minute lead when a half clearance was returned into the area, where an unmarked forward reacted quickest with Will Norris producing a fine point-blank tip over.
Dealing with crosses was a particular problem for Royston on the day and another cross from the right was headed just wide of the post but the visitors weren’t to be denied when they were gifted a 17th minute lead. A free header from the near post delivery was soft but the goal bound effort hit Jack Bradshaw's outstretched leg and trickled over the line.
Both keepers were then kept relatively quiet largely down to the high levels of open play defensive quality but just before half time Kaan Fehmi dribbled into the area from the left touchline past a couple of weak tackles and his drive from a narrow angle was acrobatically turned away by the keeper.
The second half started with Royston on top. Another shot from Carl Edwards was turned away by the keeper with Edward's follow up from a tight angle blocked on the line by a combination of keeper and defender. From the resulting corner an unmarked Joe De La Salle came steaming in but somehow missed the ball with his head when any connection would have seen his side level.
With Royston getting on top they were again undone by set plays. A 25 yard free kick took a wicked deflection off the wall and whilst Norris made a superb reflex save the ball was smashed home from close range only for a raised offside flag to cut short celebrations. That wasn't the case moments later when another corner to the far post was again met by a Godalming player. The eight yard header came back off the post but again it was a visiting player who reacted quickest to the loose ball and this time the goal stood.
Paul Attfield's side showed good character to try and get back into the game. Ryan Ingrey had a flashing 25 yard drive toward the top corner superbly tipped over before Attfield gambled by putting the physical Martin Standen up front in a move that nearly paid dividends. On 75 minutes a half cleared corner was met by a half volley from Jack Bradshaw from 20 yards out that flew into the top corner.
The Crows pressed hard but the visitors showed sheer resilience. Another right wing cross was headed just wide by Luke Robins before an unsavoury incident just before the 90 minute mark saw two Godalming players dismissed by referee Panconi to reduce the visitors to nine men for the remaining moments.
Royston pummelled the Godalming penalty area but couldn't get any breaks and a last minute counter saw Wheeler run past a couple of withering, tired tackles and shoot under the exposed Norris to settle the outcome.
Team: Norris, Parr, Wilson, De La Salle, Bradshaw, Collins (Martin Standen), Edwards, Malins (Endacott), Ingrey, Fehmi (Matt Standen), Robins – Unused: Lockett, McDevitt