|Date||Saturday 8 February 2014|
|Match||Rugby Town v Royston Town|
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One|
The honeymoon is definitely over for Steve Castle as his team under-performed in this important top of the table match. Castle chose to stick mainly with the team that won so well against lesser opponents on Tuesday and this was his un-doing. The speedy Rugby forwards tore through the slow make shift back-line and destroyed the Crows with impressive, clinical finishing.
Too many of the Royston players chose to have their poorest games for weeks and Castle’s decision to omit centre-half Joe De La Salle from the squad as punishment for his unavailability last week back-fired on him and left his team with absolutely no defensive cover on the bench and when it became obvious that certain players were not up to today’s challenge – he had nowhere to go.
Ryan Ingrey ran his proverbial socks off to get his team moving from midfield but the inability of his team-mates to string three passes together and the poor performance from Antonio Murray and the hesitant running from Reece Dobson left the Crows with no real width options, despite swapping flanks mid-half.
Rugby’s no nonsense defensive modus operandi nullified Craig Hammond and Kaan Fehmi up top and despite the first half being mainly a scrappy even tussle, this gave them no time to create any meaningful chances on goal.
The difference in the first half was Seb Lake-Gaskin who twice showed his deadly pace and exposed Royston’s soft under-belly with his speed and powerful direct running being matched by two superb strikes on goal.
The second half saw three sending-offs from an arguably over-zealous referee who felt an early tackle by Nathan Haines was worthy of a straight red card and Castle must have felt briefly that the game was back on and he sent on top-scorer Rob Mason, replacing the ineffective Murray, to hopefully swing the match. Unfortunately it did not happen as the ten-man Rugby team – spear-headed superbly by David Kolodynski – got the important third goal on 62 minutes with Kolodynski scoring from a Lake-Gaskin cross.
Fehmi failed to control his frustration and saw a straight red card for raising his hands to an opponent and Royston visibly capitulated and two more punishing goals came quickly – with a Jamie Towers volley and a neat lob from Kolodynski for his second – with no real resistance seen from the Crows.
Lewis Endacott saw red from a similar challenge to that of Haines and surprisingly the Crows managed to score a scant consolation with Reece Dobson’s scuffed shot finding the corner of the goal – but even then Rugby had the last laugh as Kolodynski completed his second half hat-trick by clinically following up a half blocked effort. Leaving the Rugby crowd to ask if they could play Royston every week?
It would be too easy to dismiss this woeful performance as a bad day at the office and Steve Castle needs to re-evaluate his squad quickly to see if he has got the players with the desire, commitment and intrinsic ability to get Royston’s staccato season back on track to make the hotly contested play-off positions.
Team: Thompson, Collins, Parr (Spencer), Endacott, Cambridge, Edwards (Robins), Ingrey, Murray (Mason), Fehmi, Hammond, Dobson. Subs not used – Nightingale, Lockett.