|Date||Saturday 24 September 2016|
|Match||Uxbridge v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Cohen, Frendo|
A strong, dominant second half performance, in the Crows first action for 2 weeks, ensured that they left Honeycroft with all 3 points. Following the disappointment in their last game at Hanwell, Royston’s greater physical presence, experience, industry and obvious determination to put the previous performance to bed, resulted in them over-powering a young Uxbridge side. It was just a question if they could find the quality and guile to find the key to unlock a resolute home defence, who up until the all-important first goal had stood firm.
It took until the 73rd minute for the away side to un-pick the home defence, when a sublime chipped through ball from full back Danny May, whose delivery from both set plays and in open play throughout caused constant problems, found Gary Cohen’s run that had broken through the defensive line. A fine first touch took the ball away from the covering defenders and set him up for a cool finish, as he lifted the ball over the on-coming home goalkeeper.
The pressure valve that had become ever strained by the constant Crow’s probing, had now been released and Royston immediately doubled their advantage and signalled the end of the game as a contest with a second goal. The architect was skipper Scott Bridges, who following a substitution 7 minutes earlier found himself in more familiar surroundings in central midfield, having been deployed ineffectively on the right hand side for the opening 67 minutes. The move inside afforded Bridges more opportunity to get involved and influence the game and he did just that for the second goal. Winning the ball with a well-timed tackle just inside his own half, he quickly fed John Frendo, who held off his marker, before returning the ball to Bridges who had followed his pass and was making good ground up the inside right channel. His driving run continued as he reached the by-line, before looking up to pick out Frendo with an intelligent cut back. Frendo still had a bit to do, but he has shown in his fledging Crows career that he is a master of making himself half a yard to enable himself to get a shot off and he did just that, as he transferred the ball onto his weaker right foot, before despatching the ball low past the goalkeeper, just inside the right hand post.
The by now rampant Crows should have had the opportunity for a third goal just 3 minutes later when Cohen, who had been introduced at half time and proved a constant menace to Uxbridge with his pace and surprising aerial ability, robbed Davies-Coker. Having disposed the defender, he streaked clear advancing into the penalty box, where Davies-Coker, in an attempt to make amends for his error, clearly took Cohen’s legs from under him. A stone wall penalty, but the referee looked at the linesman for assistance, only to be inexplicably told that the ball had been won by the defender. To compound the error Cohen was booked when Davies-Coker should have been receiving his second yellow card and thus an early visit to test the temperature of the water in the home dressing room.
This 5-minute period in the second half was the match defining period of play. The first half had been an even affair with both sides enjoying spells of possession, without creating any goalmouth incident. Royston constantly looked to hit their forward line early with mixed success. A couple of long raking balls from Ryan Frater created one on one opportunities in wide errors that were not capitalised on, but any moments of danger usually came via more accurate balls into Frendo. Starting his first game for the Crows, Frendo’s strength, excellent first touch and good pass selection were the fulcrum for creating a number of good attacking positions, that were not built on with any real conviction to create goal scoring chances.
Royston’s only real chance of the first half came from a May free kick that was headed back across goal by Murray where Frendo reacted quickest, but his goal bound effort from close range brought an excellent reflex save from Paul McCarthy.
For their part the home side looked to play more through the midfield areas but were mostly repelled by the continual harrying of Spyros Mentis and Jack Bradshaw. The only times Uxbridge looked likely to create any openings, came either when Royston were wasteful in possession in their own defensive third, or when they managed to get into space between the away side midfield and defence. This notably happened twice, firstly when home skipper, Wayne Carter, crossed dangerously into the box, almost causing confusion between Adam Murray and goalkeeper Joe Welch and then when Anthony Thomas found time and space to arrow in an excellent 25-yard effort that Welch was equal too, making a good save at full stretch and diverting the ball over the cross bar.
In the second half Royston had closed up what space had previously been offered between the midfield and defence, and with Adam Murray in particular looking impenetrable, Uxbridge had little possession to work with in the Royston half. The one opportunity that they did create, early in the second half, was their one chance to get a foothold in the game and lay claim to the 3 points, but Jon-Jo Bates only managed to poke Arron McLeish’s lay off the wrong side of the post, having fractionally beaten Welsh to the ball.
An excellent second half performance from the Crows, who once they had taken the lead never looked likely to relinquish it. The win moves them up to 3rd in the table, with a mouth-watering looking visit of Barton Rovers on Tuesday evening at Garden Walk, themselves in excellent form, having taken 14 points from their last 6 games and having not lost in the league since the first week of the season.
Royston: 1-Welch, 2-May, 3-Brathwaite, 4-Bridges, Scott ©, 5-Frater, 6-Murray, 7-Bradshaw, 8-Mentis, 9-Frendo, 10-Fehmi, 11-Ingrey
Subs: 16-Cohen (for Ingrey 45), 17-Towner (for Mentis 67), 17-Fernandes (for Fehmi 72)
Unused: 12-Bridges, Stuart, 15-Scott-Morriss
|6||EFFORTS ON TARGET||3|
|7||EFFORTS OFF TARGET||4|