|Date||Tuesday 23 August 2011|
|Match||Royston Town v Stotfold|
|Competition||Spartan South Midlands League: Premier Division|
|Royston Scorers||Collins, K. Fehmi, Lockett(pen), O'Brien
|Man of Match||Lewis Endacott
Two sides with 100% records met on Tuesday evening and it was The Crows that came out as deserved victors in an enteraining game in front of 157 spectators.
With John McGrandles and Tom Whitaker injured and Matt Standen and Rhys Lawrence away manager Paul Attfield largely kept the same team that had won at Hullbridge Sports on Saturday in the FA Cup but Martin Standen passed a fitness test before the game and took a place in the centre of midfield with Carl Edwards dropping to the bench.
The heavy day's rainfall made the pitch very slick for the players and Royston were soon into a positive stride moving the ball with great precission and pace as they really took the initiative in the opening half. An early forage forward from man of the match Lewis Endacott saw him get onto a great team move but his square ball was just cut out by a defender with team mates on hand.
With the hosts dominating territory Stotfold opened the scoring out of nothing having won a corner with their first meaningful attack in the 9th minute. The whipped in delivery was mis-kicked by Ricky Young at the near post and Harman bundled the ball home from close range. The Stotfold forward was a constant threat for the visitors in the first half with his pace and good movement causing problems but central defenders Jack Bradshaw and Jason Beck did a good job on him snuffling out dangerous situations.
Royston reacted well to the early set back and a fine Ashley Grinham cross found Tom Malins unmarked at the far post but his volley was tamely off target and moments later Ricky Young shot inches wide of the post having outpaced the full back with an angled effort. However midway through the half another fine move released Malins and his low cross was turned in by captain Ross Collins.
Straight from kick off Stotfold could have led when a defensive slip let in Harman but his deflected shot was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Jorden Gibson and scrambled away.
The game became scrappy with committed challenges and referee Howard was kept busy taking seven names before the interval. The moments leading upto half time were crucial for the home side.
Entering injury time another controlled build up eventually worked its way to Kaan Fehmi and he was given too much space on the edge of the area to control a fine curling effort into the top corner. Immediately from kick off Ryan Lockett had a superb chance to extend the lead when he raced into the area but his shot was superbly blocked by the Stotfold keeper.
The tide turned in the second half with Stotfold looking the more threatening in the early stages with Royston struggling to maintain the qualities they had shown in the first half. An early corner was headed over by the unmarked Bobby Dance from close range which was a let off.
Royston dug in well but letting themselves down slightly with their possession football that put them under some unnecessary pressure. This pressure told in the71st minute as poor defending from a throw-in ended with a last-ditch tackle from Jack Bradshaw in the area and the resultant penalty was converted by Dance to level the game.
This lead lasted a mere few seconds as straight from kick off Malins was released down the right and whilst his low cross eluded everyone Asley Grinham stormed forward on the blind side and was clearly tripped by the full back in the area.
Ryan Lockett composed himself to ram in the spot kick giving the keeper no chance. This really knocked the wind from Stotfold's sails and Royston went onto control the rest of the game and the scoring was completed late on when Dalton O'Brien got behind the visiting defence to score at the second attempt after the keeper had blocked his initial effort.
Team: Gibson, Endacott (A Fehmi), Bradshaw, Grinham, Beck, Collins, Martin Standen, Malins, Lockett, K Fehmi (O'Brien), Young (Edwards) Unused : Howard