|Date||Saturday 8 August 2015|
|Match||Uxbridge v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
The 2015/2016 league season for Royston town First Team began with a trip to Uxbridge FC on a bright and warm August afternoon. With two important players, Ryan Ingrey and Scott Bridges, serving match bans from last season and new striker signing Chris Dillon still undergoing injury rehabilitation, Steve Castle, openly pleased with his pre-season preparation, was still able to select a strong looking squad for this eagerly awaited campaign opener.
The Crows have made no secret of their promotion ambition and are viewed by many to be one of this division’s favourites and after going so close last season have been seen to strengthen across the squad and entered this game with high hopes for the next nine months.
For all concerned it was a hugely disappointing start.
The Royston game was fragmented and clumsy. Sloppy play from front to back did not repeat the flowing football we have witnessed in most of the pre-season outings. Impatience was visible and poor discipline reared its ugly head again and Castle, himself viewing the first of four matches from the stand, must have felt out of direct control and influence.
Uxbridge had a similar tentative start but settled quicker than their visitors and at the end of this ninety minutes thoroughly deserved their victory.
No real on target chances in the first period was changed on 43 minutes when the home side was gifted a lead. Daniel Brathwaite passed laterally to Liam McDevitt and a poor touch and attempted backward pass was pounced on by Matt Woods and slotted low inside the right hand post to gain a 1-0 lead.
The second half began with similar cancelling out sparring and it took until the 57th minute when Royston put direct pressure on the Uxbridge goal. A free kick into the six yard box saw a great double reflex save form home keeper Paul McCarthy, first from a powerful McDevitt header then a defenderrebound looked own goal bound until the keeper outstretched a hand and six minutes later Jack Bradshaw headed over a probing Chris Watters free kick.
Youngster Josh Castiglione came on for Luke Robins and made some good forward runs but with no real support or end product. Hardworking Gary Hart was replaced by Rob Mason on 66 minutes and the big striker looked pleased to be back in competitive league action following a lengthy lay off.
Again the Crows struggled to create any real clear cut chances but on 75 minutes a Watters corner was prodded goal ward and desperately hacked clear by a Uxbridge defender with the ball seeming to be clearly over the line with the out of luck visitors let down by poorly positioned officials, extended their lead when a good through ball found Sekani McCalmon who was clattered by an out-rushing Ron Yates for a clear penalty and Dave Thomas struck home the spot kick. 2-0.
In a frantic final five minutes the Crows did get one back with a Watters corner being headed back across goal by Bradshaw and Brathwaite stooped to direct a glancing header in for his first goal for his new club. 2-1.
Unfortunately in the melee to retrieve the ball from the obstructive home team keeper, Bradshaw’s actions were deemed worthy of a second yellow card and he was dismissed from the pitch. So despite working hard to get some unlikely glimmer of hope of a point in this game Royston were now over reaching with ten men.
Uxbridge exposed this vulnerability and scored a good match sealing goal with a long ball picked up by McCalmon and passed to Luke Henegan who finished confidently to take all three points. 3-1.
The Crows were beaten today by a well organised side playing to a clear plan and had no coherent answers.
Three Word Summary – Must Do Better.
Team: Yates, Scott-Morriss, Brathwaite, McDevitt (c), Bradshaw, Bridges Stuart, Towner, Watters, Hart (Mason), Hoenes. Robins (Castiglione).
Subs not used – Ryan, Corlett, Kilgallon.