|Date||Tuesday 23 April 2013|
|Match||Royston Town v Northwood
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Central Division One|
|Royston Scorers||Collins, Malins|
|Crows MoM||Lewis Endacott|
Poor Royston Stutter against the Woods.
By Jez Izod
A disappointingly abject display, physical opposition and horrendous officiating punched a massive hole in Royston Town's play-off ambitions on Tuesday night at Garden Walk.
In the most important and final home League game of the season the expectant crowd waited for the Crows to come screaming out of the blocks, but it was their opposition
who drew first blood after a silly free kick was given away on the edge of the area. Ryan Phillips, who was to be the Bain of the Crows all night, lifted his effort high and
over the crossbar.
On five minutes a magnificent move by the Woods saw Captain Mark Burgess feeding Niko Muir on the right flank and just as the lively attacker was pulling the trigger, a crunching tackle by Lee Wilson ended the danger.
Still the away side pressed forward and yet another free kick was given away and again Ryan Phillips stepped up to the plate. Luckily the alert Harry Reynolds easilysaved his effort.
A minute later saw Jonjo Bates place an exquisite ball to the un-rushing Muir, this time Jack Bradshaw was wise to the danger and easily cleared the ball.
On 15 minutes another free kick was needlessly given away. Phillips stepped up, but his high ball was cleared away by De La Salle.
Five minutes later saw Lewis Endacott attempting to wake up the home side with a scampering run down the right wing, his superb low cross was met by Standen and with goal at his mercy, the forward put his effort wide of the target.
The Crows gave away yet another free kick in a dangerous area allowing Phillips further target practice as his effort came extremely close to opening the score.
As the 30 minute mark approached, Royston fans had their hearts in their mouths after a poor back pass to Wilson had the left back attempting to sweep the ball away, but only succeeding in looping the ball over Reynolds and just wide of his own goal.
The best move of the match actually came from the Crows two minutes before half time after the excellent Endacott swooped down the wing, beating two defenders, his cross was met by a clever flick on by Fehmi, to find the lurking Ryan Ingrey in the area whose effort was saved by James Reading.
The second half started as poorly as the first in a Crows perspective with Burgess clean through on goal, the home side was thankful for an excellent smother by Reynolds.
A dire display was compounded on 52 minutes when a wonderful cross by Bates was met by Muir who then cleverly passed to Phillips who made no mistake from close range to give the away side a deserved lead.
The away side pressed forward for a match ending second goal and with ideas from the Crows running out, manager Attfield made 3 changes. Fehmi, Standen and Edwards were replaced by Ross Colins, Ryan Lockett and Sam Spencer.
Immediately the replacements set out their stall to change the match with Spencer impressively stopping the free flowing Northwood attacks.
Club Captain Collins dragged Royston level with a calmly taken shot from a Lockett corner. Things got even better for the home side three minutes later with a pin point free kick from Wilson was met by a sweet header from Malins to give the Crows the lead.
The save of the match came on 74 minutes after yet another needless free kick was given away on the edge of the area, Phillip’s powerful effort brought a double save from the heroic Harry Reynolds.
Controversy reigned supreme a minute later with Ingrey clean through into the home area, Brad Hewitt blatantly shoved the player over, with Royston screaming for a free kick, the referee waved play on. Hewitt smiled and winked at the official outraging the home fans.
The referee appeared to be losing his composure as on 82 minutes he gave a free kick to Northwood on the edge of the area, in which both teams looked bemused as for the reason why. Reece Yorke stepped up and powered an unstoppable effort past Reynolds to level the scores.
With time running out a free kick for the home side was given 40 yards out. De La Salle stepped up and his fizzing effort shaved the crossbar.
With the referee calling time on proceedings, Royston were left to ponder what if? On the night a poor display may have cost them dearly in the play-off hunt and that dream is now out of their hands.
However, an excellent first season for the Crows at this higher level. The players, management and staff should be proud of what they have achieved and the future looks bright for Royston Town FC.
Royston Town FC: Reynolds, Endacott, Wilson, De La Salle, Bradshaw (c), Ingrey, Edwards (Spencer), Malins, Fehmi (Lockett), Standen (Collins), Robins. Subs Not Used: Parr, McDevitt