|Date||Saturday 22 March 2014|
|Match||AFC Hayes v Royston Town|
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One|
In a game that Royston Town should have won at least four times in the first half hour we saw three more important points lost and suffered the first double – home and away – defeat by a team this season.
Effort and determination cannot be faulted throughout the squad – but no real cutting edge in the final third cost the team and saw this play-off place clinging important game slip away in a desperate and over-stretching last fifteen minutes.
The game couldn’t have started brighter – pleasing sweeping moves on a decent surface built on a stable back line that had seen Jack Bradshaw move to play an impressive game at right back along with his counter-part Jhai Dhillon at left-back, having one of his better games for the Crows.
Early chances saw Reece Dobson lob wide, Lewis Endacott run and cross too close to the keeper, and Robbie Nightingale put a decent chance over the bar following some fine linking build up play by Kaan Fehmi and Dobson.
The breakthrough did come in the 15th minute as Kaan Fehmi’s long shot was deflected past Bobby Khiara in the home team goal and from there the away team supporters must have felt we would build on this and add to the tally.
More chances with Dobson rushing a shot over, Fehmi just miss-hitting a bobble and Dhillon being up-ended in a dangerous area just before he could pull the trigger.
Despite a couple of ragged periods the Crows were in total control of the play and structure of this game and this made AFC Hayes’ equaliser on 37 minutes even harder to fathom.
In an innocuous right back area Joe De La Salle covered a long ball running back towards his own goal and caught in three minds dallied and was dispossessed giving lively home forward Tony Mendy just enough time to unleash a shot that beat Nick Thompson.
This equalising goal spiced up the game a bit with tackles flying in and a fired up Royston midfield looked to retake the game to their opponents and this passage culminated in a free-kick to the Crows 25 yards out that De La Salle stepped up to hit unfortunately half blocked into the grateful keepers grasp to see it level at half-time.
No changes and a revved up Royston retook the pitch looking to seize the day. The first period of play was again all Crows and the positive over-lapping of Bradshaw and Dhillon was noticeable. The returning Luke Robins replaced Lewis Endacott on the hour and the visitors pushed on to get a winner. It was all Royston and further chances fell to the unlucky Dobson and the unfortunate Fehmi.
Another change brought on Carl Edwards for Nightingale and a big fifteen minutes in the fortune of Royston’s season ensued. Edwards suffered a poor dangerous challenge that left him limping and the game became more stretched as the play became more desperate to get that important second goal.
In the mini-siege that followed a home team break-away was inevitable and a long ball and run on was followed with a clever that lob that agonisingly bounced back off of the post. Unfortunately that wasn’t the only chance as AFC Hayes took all the points for the second time this season as the superb Mendy unleashed a firm cross-goal shot that found the far corner and despite a last minute substitution bringing on Ryan Ingrey to add his usual energy the game was lost.
Team: Thompson, Bradshaw, Dhillon, Wharton, DeLaSalle, Endacott (Robins), Mentis, Collins, Fehmi (Ingrey), Dobson, Nightingale (Edwards). Subs not used – Cambridge, Darlow.