|Date||Saturday 27 February 2016|
|Match||Fleet Town v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Division One Central|
|Royston Scorers||Thomas, Towner|
This match wasn’t necessarily pretty to watch, but the result was welcome and all the Royston players worked hard from first to last whistle to secure a maximum reward.
On a tacky surface both teams found it difficult to gain any real momentum in the first half but it was the home side that had had two half chances early on before the Crows really got any forward thrust going. With the referee being particularly pedantic about positioning of throw ins, the flow of play was hampered and it wasn’t until the 17th minute when the Crows forged their first real attempt on goal – Martel Powell fed Rhys Hoenes for a run and left foot cross and Ryan Ingrey controlled well but shot just wide.
There followed a period of better on floor play from Royston that created dominance but we still saw some ultimate sloppiness that lost cheap possession as due care with the ball wasn’t fully demonstrated.
It took a good save from Ron Yates to keep the score goalless at half time with the big man diving full length to his right to palm a firm on target shot round the post.
With no immediate personnel changes for the second half Steve Castle sent his team out to push on more and the constant high tempo harrying and pressure forced their hosts back to their own final third and suggested a breakthrough was imminent.
Passes were being under-hit by both sides on this sticky pitch but No 10 Powell showed excellent ball control with first a good turn and shot past the post, then a precise through ball to Ingrey who also shot just wide.
The breakthrough came for the Crows on 57 minutes as the elegant and deceptively languid Simon Thomas again demonstrated a very pleasing eye for goal with a quality spin and low accurate finish after some good persistent work by Hoenes. 0-1.
Gary Cohen was sent on to replace Powell on 62 minutes.
Game play quality was not of top order and referee Mr Greaves did not help this with an uncertain period making some strange decisions that did nothing to improve either side’s football or mood.
Again Yates showed good presence with a solid block as Fleet tried to get something off the back of this scrappy passage of play and there was a slight air of stifled panic showing a concerning under-current and Castle sent on his second substitute to try and steady the ship. Ryan Towner replaced Ryan Ingrey on 76 minutes.
The game stumbled on with the Crows fighting hard to retain their advantage and on 86 minutes the visitors increased their lead with what looked like an offside goal being allowed to stand as Hoenes again combined well with Thomas who unleashed a snap shot that was bravely blocked by a Fleet defender, but looped up to find the alert Towner’s head, who nodded in from a position behind the advanced keeper with only a futile lunging defender on the line. 0-2.
This goal was well received – possibly deserved – and vital for the win, especially as the persistent Fleet team scored themselves on 91 minutes to pull one back for a 1-2 score-line – and under-lined Towner’s goal to be crucial for Royston to poach all three points and for the high flying Crows to bag them and scarper back to Hertfordshire.
Team: Yates, May, Watters, Bridges Scott, McDevitt, Hull, Okay (Scott-Morriss), Ingrey (Towner), Thomas, Powell (Cohen), Hoenes.
Subs not used – Mason, Brathwaite.