|Date||Saturday 11 January 2014|
|Match||Uxbridge v Royston Town
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One
After two weeks with no football due to the frustratingly wet conditions it was good to get a game on and the Crows travelled to lowly placed Uxbridge to find an impressive playing surface that had clearly beaten the weather.
Steve Castle had brought in two new faces for this one – young keeper Nick Thompson on loan from Stevenage FC made his debut, as did central midfielder, Spyros Mentis, who the new manager had brought over from his previous club Takeley FC. Both new guys had decent first games with Thompson making a couple of solid stops but having no chance with the Uxbridge goal and Mentis looking lively with both his break up play and forward movement.
The game started with Royston exerting early pressure forcing three corners with some flowing movement and on 8 minutes the third corner saw a shorter pass to Carl Edwards allowing him to spin and measure a shot to the back stick which, whilst on target, looked a simple take for the home team keeper, Paul McCarthy. Surprisingly he spilled it leaving the ball loose for predator striker Rob Mason to shift sideways from desperate out-stretched defender cover and power home with his left-foot from four yards.
If that was a relative tap in for Mason – his second goal, three minutes later, was anything but. Some good to watch pass and move football through the Royston midfield led to Edwards placing a controlled ground square pass to Mason on the edge of the box who looked up and sent an unstoppable right foot rocket of a shot past McCarthy high into the top left top corner that would still be flying if the net hadn’t stopped it. It was truly great strike.
It was noticeable with Castle’s encouraging shouts that he wanted his side to press and challenge quickly when not in possession of the ball and the commitment and energy shown was impressive.
Uxbridge’s first real chance came half an hour in when a firmly struck free-kick sped low by Thompson’s left hand post and Kaan Fehmi replied putting his own free-kick just over the bar. Fehmi had a great chance to make it three when he latched onto a Mason through pass to run on putting his effort just wide of the post. Goalie McCarthy redeemed himself and kept his team in this game with an important, superb diving save from a powerful Ryan Ingrey left footed effort.
The half time score was 2-0 to the visitors which defined the Crow’s dominance but with the balance of possession and goal chances being heavily loaded their way perhaps Castle would be slightly disappointed not to have built a steeper hill for Uxbridge to try to climb.
The home side came out possibly with a stern half-time talk ringing in their ears and they put together a ferocious ten minutes of pressure play that visibly rocked the Crows and earned themselves a goal. Determination up the left wing saw Kieran Knight find Matty Woods who in turn sent the ball across the goal for Will Wambeek to slot home.
Steve Castle saw his team react to this body blow and a slight re-structure was called for and whilst the home side continued to press on, Royston dealt with these probing moves better and despite conceding some free-kicks, which were usually super-blasted goal-ward by Craig Tompkins, the Crows began to dominate this football match again. The game settling third goal came on the hour from a Royston free-kick with Fehmi floating a fine dead ball cross over for Mason to climb and nod home, completing his second consecutive hat-trick with the added bonus of being a “perfect” trio of left foot, right foot and headed clinical display of finishing.
Castle sent Sam Spencer on for the impressive Edwards and consolidated his team’s position. Ten minutes later he replaced Fehmi for Craig Hammond and there was only one team creating chances at this stage of the game with Luke Robins and Ryan Ingrey causing the home side all sorts of problems and shots being put in that either went wide, high or were heroically blocked by the spirited Uxbridge keeper and his stoic back line.
The final change saw man of the match Mason replaced by Adie Cambridge and Royston completed their day’s business displaying fine fitness and willingness to play attractive football on this decent pitch right up until the final whistle.
Team: Thompson, Collins, Dhillon, Bradshaw, Endacott, Ingrey, Edwards (Spencer), Mentis, Mason (Cambridge), Fehmi (Hammond), Robins.
Subs not used – Parr, Darlow.