|Date||Saturday 21 January 2012|
|Match||Bournemouth FC v Royston Town
|Competition||FA Carlsberg Vase: Round 4|
|Man of Match||–
The Crows went into this FA Carlsberg Vase Fourth Round tie in such good form but this was a day to quickly forget as they were unable to replicate any of their most recent showings and went out as the last 32 team stage in really disappointing fashion.
The interest shown in the club development at the moment saw well over 100 Royston spectators making the journey to the South Coast, making up over half of the total attendance for the match, a statistic to be very proud of.
The squad, management and some supporters travelled down on the Friday evening in preparation for the game but come Saturday afternoon it was clear that the strong end to end windy conditions and quite appalling playing surface would not encourage any entertaining football and this was to be the case.
The home side currently 9th in their domestic Wessex County League division showed why they had be unbeaten at home in eight various cup competition games before this fixture with a much more confident approach to the conditions and Paul Attfield's side struggled to do likewise.
There were problems leading up to the game for Paul Attfield to ponder with Ross Collins and Jack Bradshaw suspended and Jason Beck suffering from Tonsillitis but passing himself fit for the game. The left back berth therefore went to Luke Robins with Ryan Lockett also getting a starting place from the victory at Colney Heath the previous Saturday.
Royston elected to shoot into the wind in the first half and the first half an hour proved to be the most crucial part of the game as The Crows couldn't get any co-ordination into any part of their game and were soon under some intense pressure. This resulted in an early 5th minute for the home side when some hesitation in defence eventually leading to a forward rounding Will Norris and being brought down with leading marksman Dave Ewen converting the kick.
A reaction was needed but not forthcoming and some desperate if sometimes unorthodox defending kept the home side at bay until the 20th minute. A rare forage forward saw cheap possession given away and the normally reliable back line was left embarrassingly exposed as one ball forward left Hogan in the clear with an eternity to line up a shot and toe punt past Norris into the net from 16 yards.
The game was hampered further for both teams by some exceedingly poor refereeing which frustrated Royston more than the hosts and some focus was needed and quick. Very slowly Royston did start keeping the ball for better periods but still the hosts looked dangerous on the break.
Chances were hard to create but Matt Standen did have the best on 32 minutes when he broke clear of the defence but the ball bobbled up and his shot went weakly off target. John McGrandles then had a six yard header from a free kick saved but that was as good as it got for Royston who got a helping hand from the referee when he harshly sent off Bournemouth midfielder Jon Byrne for a second booking in the 37th minute.
The score remained unchanged at half time which allowed a much needed recess period. A change of personnel and formation saw Ryan Lockett replaced by Ash Grinham and Luke Robins was pushed on in a more familiar left wing roll and Royston began to dominate territorially.
Unfortunately for The Crows because they were behind by two goals Bournemouth packed their defensive third, with no need to press for further goals, with minimal space and time on the ball for anyone and it was hardly recognisable that they had a man less because of this. Still increasingly burdened by the conditions the wind behind them was hardly an advantage as a deluge of crosses from set and open play were mostly delivered with poor quality or over hit creating little danger.
The home keeper remained underworked and the introduction of Ricky Young on 65 minutes provided instant reward. Matt Standen chased what seemed to be a loss cause into the area and slight home hesitation allowed him to pull the ball back from Young to convert from 8 yards from his first touch. Bournemouth had one great chance on the counter attack just after when a right wing cross found an unmarked forward who's effort should have worked Will Norris better.
From then on it was all Royston but try as they might they couldn’t create clear openings to work the keeper in any shape or form until the allotted 5 minutes added time. Kaan Fehmi really should have had a penalty when upended in the area with the referee's poor positioning leaving him unsighted and the one clear opening when Luke Robins raced onto Martin Standen's flick but yet again a heavy touch allowed the keeper to race out and release and danger. More controversy in the final seconds when everyone ventured forward for a free kick which was deflected high into the air with a defender punching the ball from below the crossbar with a posse of players in attendance. To sum up the day both closest officials saw no infringement and that was it from the resulting scrambled clearance.
A day of reflection on what might have been for The Crows, but having not played to anywhere near their clear potential with too many players having off days. Crucially with the visitors being out battled for important periods of the game it would be unfair to say Bournemouth didn't deserve their passage into the last 16 stage and for The Crows, they can now concentrate on their pursuit for promotion.
Team: Norris, Endacott, Robins, McGrandles, Beck (Young), Martin Standen, Edwards, Malins (Lawrence), K. Fehmi, Matt Standen, Lockett (Grinham), Unused: Plowright, Clemo