|Date||Saturday 4 April 2015|
|Match||Royston Town v Potters Bar Town|
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Division One Central|
Royston Town secured their seventh straight win in their committed play-off push run-in that consolidated third position, with four games to go, with a solid 1-0 win against a spirited Potters Bar Town side in a competitive, if unattractive as a spectacle, match.
Royston started spritely with their usual high tempo pressing and with the Scholars looking equally focussed to diffuse this early pressure. Ron Yates was slowish coming out for a back pass and got a kick for his tardiness. Up the other end visitor’s keeper, Ben Goode commenced his impressive all round game with a point blank stand up save from a fierce Gary Hart drive as Chris Watters started to probe up the left putting in several question asking crosses.
A Watters free kick was shouldered just wide by skipper Scott Bridges and on 16 minutes Potters Bar broke quickly and it took stoic work from Ryan Wharton to clear away. Another Hart shot following a Ryan Ingrey flick was blocked and the Crows pressing style slipped into some sloppy long ball play that allowed their visitors to regroup and the home side’s frustration at not being able to achieve a breakthrough was noticeable. The first half finished on a high for the Crows as another great ball in from Watters found Hart again and Goode produced another fine save to deny their hosts and to keep the game goalless.
With no changes made at half time, Royston quickly picked up where they left off and four minutes in scored the only goal of this tight contest. Watters came over to the right side to take a corner that was delivered well and only half cleared by the Potters Bar resistance and the ball was fed back to Watters who cut outside and sent over a rare right foot cross that young Stevenage loanee Fejiri Okenabirhie rose well to head in at the back post to score his first and a clearly important goal for Royston Town FC.
The Crows dominated this half without putting the game to bed and you could feel the nerves from the bench and home crowd as they could see that their visitors had a goal in them and any slip in concentration could undo the good work so far. Royston’s defensive work was spot on this half, clean and defined tackling but with some clearances under-hit brought another deserved clean sheet. Spyros Mentis, having another superb match in the centre break up role, produced the tackle of the match that epitomised the home team’s determination and resolve.
Steve Castle’s substitutions saw Jack Bradshaw replace Watters, Gus Scott-Morriss get another experience building run out at right back for Wharton and local boy Mitchell Cooper, being rewarded for impressive displays for the reserve team including a hat-trick in the week, being handed a first team 15 minute debut, giving the impressive Gary Hart a well-earned rest.
Potters Bar were never really totally out of this game and had late chances to snatch something but Royston dealt with these well and held tight to secure the three points. Four games to go and all to play for.
Team: Yates, Wharton (Scott-Morriss), Watters (Bradshaw), Powell, McDevitt, Bridges Scott, Bridges Stuart, Mentis, Hart (Cooper), Okenabirhie, Ingrey. Subs not used – Nigthingale, Theobald.