|Date||Tuesday 28 February 2017|
|Match||Royston Town v Northwood|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Scott Bridges(2)|
Another tough encounter, another hard won three points. On a pitch that did well to soak up the endless rain, but still didn’t help the quality of the football, Royston battled determined opponents that just wouldn’t lie down – but still banked the precious points.
Steve Castle again shuffled his pack slightly – bringing in Haydn Dodge for the absent Joe Welch, resting Spyros Mentis and Dan Brathwaite due to slight injuries and seeing Ryan Ingrey and Matt Nolan come back into the squad.
The Crows started this game at 100mph and a shot on target had to be saved in less than a minute and the onslaught that John Spenser in the Northwood goal had to deal with in the first ten minutes did suggest a feast of home team goals and an easy win – this certainly wasn’t the final outcome.
Good early efforts by Ryan Frater, Rod Orlando-Young and John Frendo were all denied but the scoring was opened in the 6th minute when an Orlando-Young corner was delivered well and the ball fell to skipper Scott Bridges whose first attempt was blocked but he had time to have another swing and buried it high in the net from 5 yards. 1-0.
Flood gates open? Only weather wise as the persistent rain worsened and didn’t help either team in their control of the ball or instilling any quality in this match. Absolute credit to Northwood who withstood this early full on pressure and started to get some tangible resistance and create chances to make the Crows know that this wasn’t a one-way street.
It was, however, still Royston dominating overall and Orlando-Young was to the fore with efforts on goal, sometimes when a pass would have been better. Frendo had a big penalty shout turned down on 43 minutes when he was clearly fouled in the box and suitably antagonised then put in a superb shot bringing an even better save from Spenser who somehow turned the effort onto the post and then scrambled across to make a brave second save before Frendo could slide in to convert. Top quality goalkeeping from the Northwood stopper.
The second half was a dour affair and as much as Royston tried to put this game to bed the second goal did seem to be eluding them. Josh Castiglione came on for Orlando-Young in the 58th Minute to add renewed pace and his tricky runs immediately had Northwood scrabbling again.
A well struck Scott Bridges free-kick clattered the bar on 61 minutes and it was certainly the Crows who looked the more likely to score again.
More changes saw Kaan Fehmi and Adam Watkins leave the pitch to be replaced by Ryan Ingrey and Matt Nolan, the latter to mean a two pronged attack of Frendo and Nolan that always looks exciting to the Royston supporters.
The Northwood resistance was breached on 79 minutes as a second home team goal was scored. Another set play brought the score as Danny May sent a corner over and the Bridges brothers combined with Stuart heading goal-ward for the ball to land at Scott’s feet for him to spin and get the faintest touch to tap in from 2 yards. 2-0.
This wasn’t game done and credit to the resilient Northwood players who got one back on 83 minutes with a speedy breakaway finished well past Dodge by Myles Stephenson. 2-1.
The game was seen out with not a small sigh of collective relief as Royston got this result over the line and secured the all-important title chasing three points.
Team: Dodge, Towner, May, Bridges Scott, Frater, Bridges Stuart, Fehmi (Ingrey), Watkins (Nolan), Frendo, Powell, Orlando-Young (Castiglione).
Subs not used – Murray, Scott-Morriss.