|Date||Saturday 16 November 2013|
|Match||Royston Town v Northwood
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One
|Royston Scorers||Murray, De La Salle
The Crows will rue a wasteful first 45 minutes in which five clear cut chances came a begging but finishing akin to events at Twickenham let them down dearly.
It all started so brightly for Royston with Luke Robins rampaging down the left from the off, his mazy run was cut out by Ramil Sheriff. A minute later the Crows were on the offensive after an excellent through ball from Ryan Ingrey found Hammond looking menacing on the edge of the area but his high shot set the tone for his afternoon.
The hosts were left gasping with relief on eight minutes after a slip by Jack Bradshaw allowed the dangerous Niko Muir to nutmeg the defender but fortunately his low shot whizzed past the upright.
The visitors were forced into an unwelcome change after Michael Murray pulled up with a hamstring problem. The Crows looked to capitalise on this misfortune when the excellent Ingrey fed a delightful ball to Hammond but the striker launched his shot higher than an Indian rocket.
On 24 minutes a delightful move from the Crows which involved Hammond, Murray and Robins eventually fell to Taylor Parr, his dangerous cross was put behind by the very effective Sheriff. With Royston piling players forward in anticipation of a pinpoint delivery, Jack Bradshaw’s set piece fell promptly behind the goal much to the angst and frustration of the home supporters.
The half hour mark saw another Royston corner, this time the delivery was superb as the ball fell to Robins but his weak right foot shot fell tamely into the hands of 17 year old stopper Danny McNicholas.
The Woods started to place their own pressure on proceedings with the exciting Joakim Ehui breaking free from a static Royston midfield but his cross went far too deep for the lurking Muir to connect to.
Royston hearts were in mouths on 45 minutes as another Northwood break-a-way occurred when the superb Muir got the better of Bradshaw for the countless time this afternoon, his through ball found George Nicholas and his powerful shot screeched past the hapless Zach Binge but rebounded off the upright.
The second half saw the visitors scream out of the blocks with yet another attack from Muir and Bradshaw beaten again by the forward whose lob was eventually bundled into the net by the unlucky Lewis Endacott.
It should have been two on 49 minutes when the unmarked Muir meandered into the area and just as the Number 9 was releasing the trigger, his pocket was picked by Bradshaw who cleared much to the relief of the home bench.
Handbags reigned supreme five minutes later after Murray was fouled by Steve Brown and as the Number 10 was lying on the ground he copied the infamous Beckham incident with a petulant kick out, cue ugly scenes as a mass brawl involving most of the players ensued. After several minutes of pacification the referee booked both Brown and Murray for their troubles. The resultant free kick came to nothing as the ball rolled tamely into the hands of the confident McNicholas.
With the Crows lacking ideas and resorting to direct tactics it was beginning to look like one of those days until the excellent Ingrey was surprisingly replaced by Robbie Mason and shortly afterwards the ineffective Robins was replaced by Mitchell Bryant on 80 minutes.
Shortly afterwards a long punt from Spencer fell to the Captain Ross Collins but his hurriedly lashed shot worried the linesman more than the Goalkeeper.
Two minutes later saw the Crows level after another corner from the home sides was not dealt with by Northwood and after a brief period of pin ball, Antonio Murray’s sizzling shot was deflected by the distraught Sheriff into the onion bag to give the forward player his first league goal of the season.
With Royston still patting their backs for the leveller the visitors broke forward with Craig White being given the freedom of Garden Walk his shot crashed off the bar and Niko Muir was their to lash in the second Northwood goal.
With the home fans unleashing their displeasure on the afternoons proceedings, the ever improving Parr attempted to make amends with a weavy run and an excellent shot that was spilled by McNicholas into the path of the lurking Hammond, with the goal at his mercy the mercurial striker placed his shot wider than the Severn Estuary. His blushes were saved by a belated flag from the official.
With added time into the 4th minute it was left to Joe De La Salle to save the Crows from a third successive home defeat as a free kick into the area from Bradshaw found the defender who rose magnificently like a swan to head into the net to share the points.
Overall the Crows will reflect on some wasteful finishing and static defending in a match against a robust but well drilled Northwood side who have their own aspirations of promotion.
Royston Town: Binge, Endacott, Parr, Bradshaw, De La Salle, Spencer, Collins (c), Ingrey (Mason), Hammond, Murray, Robins (Bryant) Subs Not Used: Cambridge, Edwards, Lockett