|Date||Saturday 27 August 2011|
|Match||London Tigers v Royston Town|
|Competition||Spartan South Midlands League: Premier Division|
|Royston Scorers||Malins, Young
|Man of Match||Jack Bradshaw|
This turned out to be the toughest challenge to date for The Crows. With depleted numbers and on an awful pitch the side battled well and can take get pride in the final scoreline which lifts The Crows to the summit of the Premier Divsion at this early stage of the season.
John McGrandles and Matt Standen returned to Paul Attfield's squad but the unavailablity list was high with Tom Whitaker and Ryan Redford injured, Arin Fehmi, Kann Fehmi, Rhys Lawrence and Ryan Lockett on holiday and Jason Beck suspended.
The opposition were former side Kingsbury London Tigers who have moved to a new ground and hence changed their name. It has to be said that the playing surface was a massive hinderance to easy constructive football and with it only being August it would be right to assume that many teams may come unstuck there as the season expands.
Overall this was a deserved win for Royston. It wasn't pretty at times and there were lots of mistakes from both teams but Royston looked the better unit and certainly looked the bigger goal threat.
In the opening stages the visitors won a number of set plays as they started well. Delivered free kicks from Lewis Endacott were headed just off target each time and a Tom Malins corner was headed onto the crossbar by John McGrandles as Tigers struggled to defend aerial balls. The hosts whilst being a good technical side were often hampered by they own pitch and despite some occasional bursts forward they rarely looked a goal threat in the first half.
Royston piled on some decent pressure but themsleves were often undone with a poor final choice of ball or their move was interupted with close offside calls or free kicks awarded to the opposition.
The game needed a goal and Royston got it at a perfect time just befor half time. A home move broke down easily in midfield and Ross Collins weighted a neat through ball for Tom Malins to outpace the home defence and slot wide of the keeper's dive and into the net. Royston lost full back Ashley Grinham to a knee injury just before the break. This intriduced a change of formation with Matt Standen joining Dalton OBrien in a two man attack and Collins moved to full back.
The players were met by a second half on driving wind and rain for 20 minutes which didn't help the pitch surface but the passing got better from both teams where the wetness saw the ball moving quicker.
Tigers had their best period in the opeing fifteen minutes as they applied lots of pressure but Royston's defence marshalled by Bradshaw and McGrandles was outstanding and it was hard to create. Their best chances of the period came when a corner created a six yard box goalmouth scramble that somehow stayed out of goal and a free header from a deflected cross that was somehow headed staright at Jorden Gibson from six yards.
With Tigers pressing Royston hit them on the counter on 61 minutes when Ricky Young was released down the left and cutting inside The Crow's winger cut inside as curled a sublime effort onto the far corner from the corner of the area with the keeper watching in marvel!
This literally knocked the host's fight, Royston found an extra technical gear and went on to create further chances as they dominated until full time. Tom Malins shot just wide and had an effort cleared off the line. Matt Standen headed just over from close range and Dalton OBrien and Young had further good chnaces hit at the keeper but again this was another gritty performance from Paul Atfield's side in difficlut circumstances.
Paul Attfield commented " In hindsight to play on a as poorer pitch as this in August maybe was beneficial as it will be a bigger problem as the season extends. For me the timing of the two goals were pivotal with one right on half time and a second just on the end of their best period of the game. Other than that the lads really dug in well , defending pretty well as a unit and always looked danger on the counter. Their collective efforts fully deserve the final scoreline.
Team : Gibson Endacott Grinham (Matt Standen) McGrandles Bradshaw MartinStanden Collins Malins OBrien Edwards Malins Unused : Williams, Harris