Match Report: AFC Dunstable v Royston Town

Date Tuesday 25 October 2016
Match AFC Dunstable v Royston Town
Competition Evostik League Southern: Division One Central
Result Won 1-0
Royston Scorers Frendo
Crows MoM
 Stuart Bridges

Royston Town came home with a hard earned three points after a gritty and determined performance away at division new boys AFC Dunstable, who were previously unbeaten at home in the league.

Again, Steve Castle did not tinker with his starting line-up, leaving it the same as Saturday, and again this team consistency, high intensity and total will to win came good.

It was a competitive match with AFC dogged in their duties, working hard to keep with their more fluent opponents, but over the ninety minutes not really troubling Joe Welch in the Crows’ goal.

In a game that saw a high free-kick count, there was hardly a vicious tackle and the referee redeemed himself by being overly fussy at times to allowing two good advantages for the visitors – the second leading to the only goal of the game.

On the positive side we saw another solid clean sheets from the back five, with again Stuart Bridges and Adam Murray combining well, but on the downside we saw Murray leave the pitch injured on 79 minutes, with no real centre half cover on the bench, and knowing Murray is also out suspended for Saturday’s upcoming FA Trophy match Castle will have to rethink his backline.

The first 25 minutes of the match was mainly all Royston with them trying to carve out some clear cut chances. AFC keeper, Ricky Perks, stood up well to a solid John Frendo shot and the same in form striker also nearly rounded Perks but the goalkeeper did just enough to snaffle the ball.

The home side had their best period of play late in the second half but again only half paced efforts were made on Welch’s net. The Crows weathered this period of pressure and regained control with the interval just halting their positive momentum.

Second half, no immediate changes, and Royston were still on the front foot and again Perks did well, first from a Kaan Fehmi effort at a sharp angle and then spooning over a low Murray firm central header.

Changes were made with Luke Warner-Eley again coming on for Dan Brathwaite on the hour mark and also a similar change from Saturday with Frazer John replacing Fehmi six minutes later.

The solitary goal of the game came on 70 minutes as a spurt forward by the pacier John was halted with an agricultural challenge that the referee looked at but chose to play a good advantage as the ball defected forward for the alert Frendo to take on and plant an exquisite lob over Perks and scrape the underside of the bar on the way in. 0-1.

The Crows didn’t sit on this lead and were looking for a second but this mind set was altered slightly as Murray limped from the field to be replaced by striker Simon Thomas at centre back for the last 11 minutes.

Thomas did well with a couple of important headers, but there was a general sense of nervousness as the Crows looked to see out the remaining added time to secure a very good win and important three points on a midweek road trip that can often be the cause of dropped points. Also we learned that both Farnborough and Kempston had lost so that put the Crows seven point clear temporarily neutralising the games in hand that these rival promotion still hopefuls have to play.

Onwards to Saturday and hopefully a win against Northwood to continue the FA Trophy cup run and bank the £2700 on offer to the winner.

Team:  Welch, Scott-Morriss, Brathwaite (Warner-Eley), Bridges Sco, Murray (Thomas), Bridges Stu, Fehmi (John), Towner, Frendo, Powell, Ingrey.
Subs not used – May.