|Date||Tuesday 5 April 2011|
|Match||Hanwell Town v Royston Town|
|Competition||Spartan South Midlands League: Premier Division|
|Man of Match||Carl Edwards|
Royston Town FC made the 48 mile Tuesday night journey to the home of Hanwell Town FC to play this rearranged league game that was originally scheduled for Saturday 19th February but had fell victim to the weather.
Statistics from the programme tell us that these two clubs have met previously eighteen times in total with Hanwell having won ten of the games, Royston winning seven and one draw.
Tonight’s game had an unfortunate sense of déjà-vu about it, with Royston scoring first, but then were unable to push on and eventually letting their opponents back into the game to claim a draw. It was a repeat of Saturday’s match against Biggleswade United and a few other encounters this season.
Royston Town only had thirteen available players tonight because of various reasons including illness, injuries, suspensions and other less valid excuses for non attendance so that left Paul Attfield with a line up dilemma that he answered with Ashley Grinham taking a centre back role and Martin Standen being pushed forward to play as striker. Only substitutes were Matt Standen and a second goal-keeper in Jorden Gibson.
Royston started well with a goal within two minutes when young left winger Paul Klein scored his third goal in three games volleying in a Ricky Young cross from three yards. Royston applied more pressure on the Hanwell goal with both Klein and Young doing good work on the wings and chances fell to Grinham and Ryan Lockett but their efforts were not on target. All through the game Hanwell Town were winning cheap free-kicks in various positions on the pitch and whilst they failed to convert them this took the fluidity out of Royston’s game and stifled any consistent creative moves or real opportunities to take full control of this match. The half finished with a tricky run from Klein and his cross was met by a strong header from Martin Standen only to see his effort go over the bar.
The second half was similar to the first in that Royston continued to press forward with good work from the wings and two early chances for Standen were created. One being put wide and a header that hit the net being ruled out for offside. However the plague of free-kicks continued and this helped Hanwell put together a period of pressure that saw the game stagnate and on 65 minutes Attfield played his only real card by swapping striker Lockett, who was struggling with tight hamstrings, for Matt Standen, dropping his brother Martin back into midfield and pushing the hard working Young up front. A Royston free-kick was delivered by keeper Howard, won well by Martin Standen in the air and Young’s snap-shot was well saved. Hanwell put on two substitutes of their own to try and up the pressure for an equaliser and the Royston defence creaked a bit leaving themselves exposed on at least two occasions. The match play stagnated, but as has happened too many time this season Royston were unable to shut up shop and left themselves exposed to a late goal. On 85 minutes a free-kick was conceded on the edge of the Royston box and Luke Howard was down injured with ankle problems. After a period of treatment he was replaced by Jorden Gibson and Gibson’s first contribution was to make a superb save from the well struck free-kick from Hanwell top scorer Blaise O’Brien, bravely blocking the shot for a corner. The resulting corner was sent over deep to the back post and Hanwell substitute Karl Powell hit it on the half volley for it to find the net for a deserved equaliser.
Royston reacted well with some late attacks producing chances for Standen whose shot went straight at the keeper and a gilt-edged chance for glory for Grinham only to see his header go wide when it looked easier to score.
Once again this season Royston had failed to finish opponents off despite creating many scoring opportunities and they have paid the price of this by dropping valuable points against teams that on paper they should be beating.
Team: Howard (Gibson), Endacott, Grinham, Cain, Apostolos, Edwards, Collins (Capt), Young, Klein, Lockett (Matt Standen), Martin Standen.