|Date||Tuesday 10 December 2013|
|Match||Royston Town v Kettering Town
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One
This midweek match against a well-supported Kettering side posed a tough challenge for the recently below-par Crows. Caretaker Manager Duncan Easley chose to stay with a similar line-up to the one that got victory at Leighton Town on Saturday, with the only change being a start for Ryan Ingrey, with Adie Cambridge taking a place on the bench.
It was a really good match to watch with chances created at both ends – but with no score demonstrating perhaps a bit of home team hesitation in front of the goal – but the Royston defence did really well to stifle the lively in-form Kettering striker Dubi Ogbonna who came into this game off the back of two consecutive hat-tricks.
The ball was in the Royston net after one minute but an offside flag was waving and this high tempo match saw some early visitor pressure that the Crows dealt with well, despite giving the ball away too many times, and started to fashion a good period of play of their own to force the Poppies back. Kaan Fehmi put a shot just wide after some good work by Mitch Bryant. Will Norris showed his class with two saves, the first from a sharp shot across the goal then a fine block and another period of Kettering siege was thwarted.
On twelve minutes Royston had their own offside goal chalked off. A surging run from Fehmi up the right brought a low cross that Bryant helped on its way into the net – it must have been tight as they were almost level. Fehmi put in another probing run but his shot had no power and was easily saved by Denham Hinds in the Poppies net. The linesman then surprisingly flagged offside for a clear pass back by a Kettering defender that landed at Bryant’s feet.
This very entertaining match swung back and forth with Kettering breaking the quicker compared to Royston’s more methodical and crafted build up play. A Poppies striker missed a sitter as the ball was crossed in low and he blasted over from 4 yards. The referee was being lenient with some of the more full force challenges from both sides and this close and full on match sped to half-time.
Ten minutes into the second half and the visitors had a double penalty shout waved away and up the other end hesitation from Carl Edwards and Kaan Fehmi, when quicker shot release seemed a better option, saw last ditch blocks from the Poppies’ defenders. Substitutions were made seeing Antonio Murray replace Ryan Lockett and Craig Hammond replace Mitch Bryant as Easley looked to these two experienced strikers to break the deadlock. A Royston corner was cleared quickly and a Kettering break-away saw Ogbonna go dangerously close. A Royston free-kick was wasted with a cheap foul and Norris was putting in a solid performance for the Crows as he demonstrated the great positioning and safe-hands that we all remembered from last season, taking a couple of heavy blows in the process. Late on Adie Cambridge replaced Sam Spencer, who hadn’t had the best of evenings and the match finished at an entertaining, but fair result of a goalless draw.
Team: Norris, Collins, Parr, Bradshaw, DeLaSalle, Edwards, Ingrey, Spencer (Cambridge), Lockett (Murray), Fehmi, Bryant (Hammond).
Subs not used – Mason, Endacott.