|Date||Saturday 13 August 2011|
|Match||Royston Town v Harefield United|
|Competition||Spartan South Midlands League: Premier Division|
|Royston Scorers||Lockett(pen), Young(2), Whitaker|
|Man of Match||Ricky Young|
The opening day of the league playing season started in the best possible fashion for The Crows as they recorded a fully merited 4-2 victory over Harefield United at Garden Walk.
Overall this was a game Royston could and should have won by a greater margin but some defensive naivity always kept Harefield in the game, however much of the hosts' possession and creativity was pleasing to see.
The Crows dominated from the start and took a 15th minute lead. A forceful run from full back Ash Grinham saw him up-ended in the area and Ryan Lockett converted the penalty kick. Unfortunately this lead was given up within 30 seconds. A hopeful lofted ball in the box should have been dealt with but Gibson and Grinham made a mess between them allowing the ball to drop to a grateful forward to roll into an empty net.
This didn't knock the hosts and they continued to exert good pressure with some fluent football. The lead was retaken on the half hour when Ryan Lockett's free kick took a couple of deflections off visiting players before leanding at Ricky Young's feet who swept the ball in from eight yards.
The lead was extended further just three minutes later when Lockett's cross was superbly volleyed into the net by Young from 12 yards. The Royston player could have completed a first half hat trick when he beat a fragile off side trap but his tame effort was gathered by the keeper quite comfortably.
With a healthy lead a positive start to the second half could have seen the hosts achieve a complete stranglehold of the game but in the opening minutes they allowed Harefield their best period of the game. Within two minutes poor possession and shut down play eventually ended with a foul right on the edge of the area with the resulting free kick easily beating the wall and Gibson's dive to the corner.
The control of the game began to come back and Full Back Tom Whitaker started and finished a good team move to convert a chance from close range on 60 minutes to restore a two goal cushion. This was jeopardized again amazingly within 30 seconds when a hopeful shot from outside the box struck John McGrandles in the area with the referee deeming it to be a handball offence. Fortunately Gibson did well to guess a rather tame effort and this moment seemed to all but finish the visitors.
Royston went on to create enough clear chances to completely trounce their opponents in the remaining time but notable chances for Jason Beck (twice), Matt Standen, Tom Malins and Young all narrowly missed the target without working the goalkeeper.
Paul Attfield commented after the game : " First league games are never easy as you switch from uncompetitive games to competitve ones but the performance was pretty decent from the team. Our fluency on the ball and creativity was of a high standard throughout but we shoudl have worked the goalkeeper on far more occasions. Unfortunately through our own doing we kept Harefield in the game through lapses of concentration and whilst it has been difficult to get a settled back line due to injuries and absentees we must become more solid and very quickly."
Team: Gibson, Whitaker (Matt Standen), Grinham, (Arin Fehmi) , McGrandles, Endacott, Martin Standen (Edwards), Collins , Malins, Beck, Lockett, Young – Unused : Bradshaw, O'Brien