|Date||Saturday 15 August 2015|
|Match||Royston Town v Northwood|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
After a disappointing start to the new campaign the Crows were hoping to kick start their season and pick up their first win against the early league leaders in Northwood but once again came up short.
The Premier League stats published in the press showed that the team that scores first very rarely lose a game and it seemed that both Managers had instructed their players to get that early goal as the game opened up with fast free flowing open football.
The Crows' early chances all came from set plays but none of them convincing enough to test the Northwood keeper however Yates in the Royston goal was forced to make a sharp save low to his right when Louis Stead thought he had done enough to score. As the half developed Northwood grew more and more into the game and kept the Royston defenders guessing who to mark as the midfielders took turns to break forward and support the lone striker.
In the 41st minute the deadlock was broken with the best move of the match, Jack Bradshaw’s long diagonal cross field ball was cleverly flicked on by Watters and the stretching Luke Robins toe poked the ball past the despairing Haigh in the Northwood goal to give the Crows the lead.
Two minutes later Northwood had a chance to equalise when a soft free kick was conceded 25 yards out in the centre of the goal but once again Yates was equal to it as he palmed away the goal bound shot. Almost immediately, the Crows had a chance to double their lead when a swift breakaway led by Rhys Hoenes saw the ball fall invitingly for Robins but his volley lacked enough power to give the Northwood keeper any cause for concern.
Half time 1-0 to Royston.
No sooner had the second half kicked off the scores were level again. Indecision in the Crows defence allowed Northwood’s George Nicholas to round Yates to score with ease and give the reds of Northwood the impetus they needed to push on to win the game. Eight minutes later they had the lead as a simple ball over the top into a void left by the advancing right back forced Bradshaw to vacate his central position but his despairing challenge was not enough to halt the attack and the ball was squared to Michael Murray to score.
The Crows acting Manager Ada Cambridge immediately made changes, introducing the more attack minded debutant Lewis Donovan for the solid Daniel Brathwaite, George Powell came on to rekindle his successful partnership with McDevitt, Jack Bradshaw moved to right back and Rob Mason thrown up top to give the Northwood defence more to think about. The changes certainly appeared to work as the Crows dominated the final thirty minutes but it was hard to ascertain whether that was down to the Crows pushing on or Northwood deciding to protect what they had as they sat deeper and deeper.
The returning Powell had a great opportunity to get on the score sheet when a deep corner from Bridges found the defender unmarked on the corner of the six yard box but his header flew high and wide. Minutes later Rob Mason boxed in by the corner flag, skilfully eluded a Northwood defender and drove into the box but with the angle against him rifled the ball across goal which was cleared to the waiting Ryan Ingrey whose shot was well saved by the impressive Haigh.
Cambridge played his final gamble with 12 minutes left reverted to a back three but despite the extra body pushed on the Crows ran out of ideas and Northwood held on for a well deserved 3 points.
The only lesson learnt is that it’s not who scores first that counts, it’s who scores the most.
Team: Yates, Scott-Morriss (Powell), Brathwaite (Donovan), Stu Bridges, McDevitt (c), Bradshaw, Hoenes, Towner, Ingrey, Watters, Robins (Mason)
Subs not used Hart, Castiglione