|Date||Tuesday 1 September 2015|
|Match||Royston Town v Thurrock|
|Competition||The Emirates FA Cup: Preliminary Round Replay|
Despite being in front three times in this two match cup-tie Royston relinquished these leads far too easily and ended up losing 3-1 at home with a performance that was as concerning as it was poor.
The selected starting line-up left some supporters bewildered, but manager Steve Castle had been hampered by injury and unavailability and the overall strength in depth of his playing squad was tested and in this instance came up despairingly short.
This tie should have been won by the Crows on Saturday but Thurrock had shown their resilience to force a replay and it was all to play for in this game, and their own line-up showed a few enforced changes from the weekend match.
Royston took the lead in the 11th minute when Rhys Hoenes latched onto a brilliant through ball from centre-half Jack Bradshaw that fell perfectly for the rapid winger to leave his markers standing to run on and finish competently past debutant keeper, Connor Wheatley. 1-0.
Thurrock responded well and pushed on, playing the better football forcing two corners, the second of which was delivered front post and flicked on for Lewis Clark to score. 1-1.
With the home team scrabbling, their visitors had the ball in the net again three minutes later following a swift well worked break and a good finish only to be ruled offside and up to half time the Crows were forced to defend frantically as their inability to retain the ball opened themselves up and Thurrock were disappointed not to take the lead for the first time in this tie before the half-time whistle.
Second half and the Crows reapplied themselves to the task in hand with renewed pressing play only to be undone on 51 minutes as a cheaply conceded free-kick was sent in and another near post flick on wrong-footed the defence and striker Ross Wall finished convincingly to take the lead. 1-2.
Castle made changes – Stuart Bridges replaced Gus Scott-Morriss and Ryan Ingrey came on for Josh Castiglione – and Royston tried to find their way back into this cup-tie. Rob Mason had chances – mainly with his head – that were off target and Castle was calling for “better movement” and that his team were “too static”.
With the visitors being pushed back, Luke Robins won a loose ball and Ingrey arrived perfectly to strike powerfully but the ball was always rising to clear the bar and from another forward surge Chris Watters sliced a ball across the goal and this was the story of this ten minute period of home team pressure as all chances created never troubled Wheatley and he had no real saves to make, always taking his time to get the ball back into play from the resultant numerous goal-kicks.
Royston’s last substitution saw Saturday’s man of the match Ryan Towner come on for Joe Ryan and the game stretched further for the home side to find that elusive leveller.
Thurrock effectively sealed the win with their third goal on 86 minutes as Joe Christou’s accurate pass found Wall who finished low and hard for his second of the night. 1-3.
Despite their best efforts the Crows had no answers when tested tonight and their 2015/2016 FA Cup campaign came to an abrupt, disillusioning halt.
Team: Yates, Scott-Morriss (Bridges Stuart), Watters, Bradshaw, Powell, Ryan (Towner), Bridges Scott, Castiglione (Ingrey), Hoenes, Mason, Robins.
Subs not used – Kilgallon, Tewkesbury.