|Date||Saturday 11 October 2014|
|Match||Hanwell Town v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evo-Stik League Southern: Central Division One|
Royston travelled to Hanwell to try and put behind them the disappointments of the midweek travails and looking for the whole club to get set to resume the season moving forward with the talented group of players Steve Castle has assembled.
Paul Bastock had chosen to move to St Neots in the week, so we saw the debut of goalkeeper Mikhael Ruiz between the posts and to come in cold to a new squad, straight into the firing line, can never be easy.
Unfortunately the Crows visited a team in reasonable form and certainly in the mood to keep their own good start to this fluctuating and interesting season going and they also found a striker in Lewis Putnam who was clinical in front of goal today and took every chance on offer to grab an impressive hat-trick to become the division’s current top goal-scorer.
Royston’s lively and impetuous start was crushed on 7 minutes when Putnam buried their only real chance of the first half picking up from some loose defensive play and his firm first time shot found the net.
Royston’s striker Craig Hammond had a good chance to equalise on the quarter hour but his firm goal-ward header, from a fine Chris Watter’s cross, was too direct at the home team keeper.
That was about as good as it got this half goal chance wise as both teams scrambled and scrabbled for a firm foothold but both eager and committed sides couldn’t find any real football momentum in a scrappy 45 minutes as play broke down easily and often and frustrated tempers on both sides became increasingly frayed and the welcome half-time break came with the score at 1-0 to Hanwell.
To compound the bad news, the Crows lost Dave Theobald early in this game as he pulled up with a hamstring strain and he was replaced by youngster George Powell.
A half time substitution saw Gary Hart replace Hammond and for the first fifteen minutes of the second half Royston were certainly playing better football and visibly back in this game as they created a few chances on goal with the excellent ball winning and hold up skills of Hart playing a leading role and the exuberance of Chris Watters and Kaan Fehmi showing no lack of determined effort to push forward at every opportunity.
This sustained period of brief dominance reaped a set play reward on 59 minutes as Stuart Bridges’ corner found centre half Ryan Wharton’s well directed header to deservedly bring the scores level.
Score-line parity was short lived as two minutes later Billy Healey regained the lead for his team as the Crow’s defence momentarily lost shape and structure and were punctured too easily and from then on Royston didn’t really get a look in being stretched and pushed back regularly. Castle immediately made his last substitution bringing on Reece Dobson for the hard-working Spyros Mentis.
During Hanwell’s dominance of the last half hour we saw the imperious Putnam grab two more goals on 75 and 90 minutes to put the visitors to the sword for a 4-1 final score-line that could realistically have been more if the home team had taken all their possible chances.
A ten day break from league action gives Royston a welcome opportunity to regroup with two cup matches to be played during this period and also possibly with important players still to return from long term injuries – but the next league games are against the low-lying, but invariably dangerous Chalfont St Peter (away on a Tuesday night) and early season league leaders Kettering Town (at home), so some stern season-defining tests await the currently struggling for consistency Crows.
Team: Ruiz, Bradshaw, Adams, Wharton, Theobald (Powell), Bridges Scott, Bridges Stuart, Mentis (Dobson), Fehmi, Hammond (Hart), Watters. Subs not used – Lockett, Endacott.