|Date||Saturday 15 October 2011|
|Match||Royston Town v Holmer Green|
|Competition||Spartan South Midlands League: Premier Division|
|Royston Scorers||Lockett, O'Brien|
|Man of Match||Arin Fehmi|
It was top versus bottom in the league on Saturday but for anyone viewing this particular fixture they would have been hard pressed to determine which team was where as a very lethargic performance from The Crows meant that ended as extremely fortuitous to overcome Holmer Green who played more than 60 minutes with ten players.
A perfect day and perfect playing surface greated the teams but manager Paul Attfield had problems in selection. From the midweek victory at Hatfield Town Matt Standen, Jack Bradshaw and Ross Collins all missed this game whilst John McGrandles, Tom Whitaker, Martin Standen, Rhys Lawrence and Jorden Gibson were all still missing. On a plus point Jason Beck returned from suspension and Ryan Redford took a place on the bench, his first inclusion of the season.
The side had made pretty light work and shrugged off a continuous absentee list in previous game but against Holmer Green there was a clear lack of urgency and penetration in their game for long periods and it was a case at times of backs to the wall and battling it through.
The first half was best forgotten and probably the worst witnessed at Garden this season. Both teams persistently gave away possession and the game was littered with continuous stoppages for petty fouls and injuries.
Royston really couldn't get hold of the ball for long enough to cause problems for the visiting defence and when they did the final ball of hope rather than quality greeted the end of most moves. The visiting keeper was only called upon to make one important save when Arin Fehmi burst into the area from full back and after a quick one-two his low drive hit the keeper's foot and ballooned over the crossbar.
Holmer offered little attacking threat but a few self inflicted nervy defensive moments kept a crowd of 156 on edge. Just before the half hour mark Holmer were harshly reduced to ten men when a late tackle on Kaan Fehmi, whch probably warranted a yellow card, was deemed serious enough by the referee for an early bath. This only made a determined Holmer Green more resolute and they deservedly got to half time on level terms.
Royston replaced the injured Luke Robins with Dalton O'Brien at half time and the hosts has their brightest period of the game in the opening 15 minutes of the half. Their most intense attacking period saw them dominate and create good chances. Lewis Endacott's low right cross was met by OBroen was his close rnage uncontrolled effort was well saved and another cross minutes later dropped nicely for Kaan Fehmi but he blazed wastefully over from just 8 yards with the goal gapping. Momentum continued and was rewarded on 58 minutes. Another right wing cross was headed goalwards by Fehmi and deflected over the keeper by Ryan Lockett from close range.
Rather than further galvanise the hosts it did the opposite and the ten men of the visitors began to control the game winning a number of corners and free kicks around the box. One header from a free kick from just six yards went wide when iit should have hit the target and another trio of set plays flashed across goal when minimal touches from anyone could have seen goals scored. The hosts weathered the attacking and hit a late second on the counterattack. Kaan Fehmi did well to out muscle a defender and play in O'Brien whose low shot was deflected in the air off the keeper's arm but bounced agonisingly over the line despite the best efforts of a defending lunge on the line.
In the end the result was the most important factor but the team showing certainly was one of the less effective of the season and will need to be a whole lot better in next Saturday's tough looking FA Vase game at Essex Senior League side Barking
Team: Norris Endacott AFehmi Grinham Beck Malins (Cain) Edwards Young KFehmi Lockett Robins (OBrien) Unued : Redford, Plowright