|Date||Saturday 18 August 2012|
|Match||Thatcham Town v Royston Town
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Central Division One|
|Royston Scorers||Fehmi (pen), Robins|
|Crows MoM||Ross Collins|
After a topsy-turvy pre-season The Crows made what will be their longest league journey of the season into furthest Berkshire in what turned out to be insanely hot weather conditions. It was a bit of a reality check in terms of travelling distances and bad traffic conditions meant nearly three hours on the road for most but all the team were present and correct despite a shortage of time for a warm up.
These problems didn't affect The Crows from the off as they started with great energy and caused the home side a number of first half defensive problems. Given the severity of the hot conditions early goals would have been the best scenario and in their first Southern League Central Division outing Paul Attfield's side got two in the first twenty minutes.
The first came on just four minutes when Lewis Endacott was needlessly barged in the back just inside the area while competing a high ball with the clear cut penalty converted by Kaan Fehmi.
Fifteen minutes later the lead was doubled with undoubtedly the move of the game down the left hand side involving quick interchanging between five Crows players and finishing with Carl Edwards setting up Luke Robins to blast a 25 yarder into the top corner.
The home side were technically good on the ball but struggled to breach The Crow's defence superbly marshalled by Jack Bradshaw and Joe De La Salle. The closest they came was just before half time from a 25 yard direct free kick that flew a foot wide of Will Norris's left hand post. In open play though Royston could have added to their lead, Matt Standen shot straight at the keeper from a good position and Jack Bradshaw blasted a twenty yard volley inches over following a good corner routine.
The two-goal cushion remained intact at the interval and whilst the hosts tried to step their game up in the second half they were matched and then out-worked all over the pitch in the increasingly difficult conditions.
Ross Collins was unlucky not to extend his side's lead when he raced onto Luke Robins's diagonal ball and blasted a half volley across the keeper but inches wide. At the other end Thatcham had their best chance when they pounced on a visitor’s mistake and the swift counter saw an angled drive flash just wide.
As the game wore on the home side became increasingly tired whilst The Crows kept possession for longer periods and with a little care could have increased their lead. Ryan Lockett had three good chances in the last ten minutes being twice denied by smart saves and once hitting the crossbar from close range.
In honesty though The Crows were more than worthy of their three points and the clean sheet with a solid, hardworking team performance to build on for their next game on Tuesday.
Team: Norris, Endacott, Wilson, Bradshaw, De La Salle, Collins, Edwards, Lockett, Matt Standen (Ingrey), Fehmi (Lawrence), Robins