|Date||Saturday 17 August 2013|
|Match||Egham Town v Royston Town
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One
The Crows got their season off to a perfect start with a hard earned victory at newly promoted Egham Town on Saturday. This was never going to be an easy game with the hosts being promoted last season due to their Combined Counties Premier Division Championship win and based on the evidence in this fixture they would cause plenty of teams problems with their lively attacking policy that kept Royston on their toes for long periods.
Paul Attfield's side have had a decent pre- season but crippled with injuries and absentees throughout the campaign nothing has been settled but the strength in depth is evident and could be crucial over a long season.
Last season's joint top scorers Luke Robins and Kaan Fehmi and midfielder Sam Spencer all missed out through injury and defensive duo Tom Pepper and Dave Theobald started three game suspensions for this game.
The game was a fine spectacle, three goals, three woodwork hits, a missed penalty, nine cautions, a sending off and lots of missed chances to keep the crowd entertained.
The Crows started well with Ross Collins testing the keep low down to his left early on before they took a tenth minute lead. A smart move down the right side involving Ryan Ingrey and Lewis Endacott ended with Endacott crossing from the by line and Robbie Mason powering home an eight yard header into the roof of the net.
The home side began to settle but were further rocked by a second Royston goal on 20 minutes. This time an excellent free kick delivery from Adie Cambridge out on the left eluded the home defence and Mason met the ball on the volley giving the home keeper no chance from close range.
Egham were not knocked back by their slow start and began to dominate possession and territory with their pace and trickery getting them into a number of positive positions in and around the area but their final pass or cross just eluded the quality needed to create clear chances .
The closest they came was ten minutes before half time when a good move ended with a pull back from the by line and the resultant goal bound ten yard strike was blocked by a combination of Royston players.
The Crows could have put the game to bed just before half time when a swift counter attack left Egham short in defence. Mitchell Bryant had the clear chance ten yards from goal but he miskicked his effort and saw it come back into play off a post before being gathered by the keeper.
Egham came out all guns blazing in the second half and twice hit the woodwork in the opening ten minutes. First a fine curling 25-yard effort cannoned off the top of George Lawton's crossbar and then a free header from a right wing corner ended with the same result.
The hosts continued to pile bodies forward in attack which left them open to the counter attack and this happened on a few occasions but The Crows, try as they might, could not kill the game off.
Robbie Mason beat the offside trap but fired just wide of an upright and from a bright free kick routine he fired over from ten yards after an excellent Jack Bradshaw pass.
With fifteen minutes to go Egham were reduced to ten men after a crude challenge on Lewis Endacott resulted in second yellow card for a home forward.
With ten minutes to go Mason again beat the offside trap but this time was bundled over in the box by the home keeper who was maybe a tad fortunate just to receive a caution for his efforts but Mason fired wildly wide from the resulting spot kick.
This was compounded further when the home side reduced the two goal deficit when another free far post header from Jim Ward from a corner found the net. George Lawton then had his one and only save to make just after but a good one it was as he raced from his line to block a forward racing into the area.
The inexplicable eight minutes of added on time resulted in a few tense moments for both sides but there was no addition to the scoreline and all in all this was an excellent opening day victory for The Crows.
Team: Lawton, Endacott, Bradshaw, De La Salle, Cambridge, Nightingale (Edwards), Collins, Ingrey, Hammond (Lockett), Mason, Bryant – Unused Subs: Parr, Reynolds