Match Report: Aylesbury Utd v Royston Town

Date Saturday 27 August 2016
Match Aylesbury United v Royston Town
Competition Evostik League Southern: Division One Central
Result Won 1-0
Royston Scorers Frendo
Crows MoM
Adam Murray

Having dominated virtually the whole match Royston deservedly brought back the 3 points from the ASM Stadium on Saturday. Up until the last 20 minutes the game was a largely turgid affair with Royston constantly jabbing away at Aylesbury without ever looking like being able to create the opportunity to land the knockout punch. This was down to a combination of their own inability to apply a cutting edge and some resolute defending from the home back four.

The first half was a largely nondescript affair as Royston dominated possession. Their more enterprising play was predominantly down the right hand flank as Gus Scott-Morriss provided a good outlet, but the general crossing of the ball from open play and dead ball situations was either over hit or found a home defender. On the odd occasion that the ball was played into a dangerous area the away forwards were either absent or attacking the wrong areas.

A mark of the away team’s dominance was the 10 shooting opportunities created, the disappointment was the inability to either hit the target, or provide a worthwhile attempt to trouble the home goal keeper into having to make anything other than a routine save.

During this half the Royston defence looked untroubled as the returning Adam Murray teamed up with Ryan Frater for the first time this season, and easily snubbed out what attacking threat Aylesbury offered. The only real sight of goal afforded the home side came when Reece Paine spilt a cross from the right hand side that landed at the feet of Taylor Collins, but he quickly made amends to dive low and smother the opportunity.

The second half continued along much the same vein with a midfield battle ensuing, although Aylesbury were more of a match in this area after half-time. Two early chances saw the home keeper determinedly beating Martel Powell to a good long ball from Danny May, and for Aylesbury, an acrobatic overhead kick from Bruno Brito that belied the quality previously seen, but was never troubling Paine.

The trigger that saw an improvement in the previously mediocre attacking play on display, was a result of the final 2 substitutions made by Steve Castle in the 69th minute, as Gary Cohen and Ryan Ingrey were introduced to replace Martel Powell and Josh Castiglione. This also saw a change in formation as Royston went to a 4-4-2 with previously introduced substitute John Frendo joining Simon Thomas up front, immediately giving the home defence another problem to deal with. This also seemed to give Royston a bit more attacking structure as the players seemed to understand their respective roles better.

Dividends were reaped almost immediately as Ingrey flicked on a long ball that Spyros Mentis latched onto and crossed from the right, directly to the feet of Thomas 5 yards from goal. In acres of space and centrally placed with just the keeper to beat, Thomas only managed to steer the ball straight at the home stopper.

Two minutes later the ducks of Aylesbury fashioned their best chance, as the pass of the match from substitute Sonny French, found home number 9 Brito well clear of a square Crows defence. Brito took the chance early, executing a near perfect lob over Paine in the Royston goal but was unlucky to see his skill and vision thwarted by the woodwork.

This was as good as it got for the home team as Royston started posing more attacking questions, particularly down their right hand flank with both Ingrey and Scott-Morris attacking with menace. In the 82nd minute Royston had another clear opportunity to score as an unchallenged Murray met Chris Watters corner but was unable to plant his header the correct side of the post.

With Royston continuing to look more potent the winning goal arrived in the 84th minute as Royston created their third clear cut opportunity, and this time they made Aylesbury pay. The move started from Murray who played an incisive pass to Scott-Morriss. A delightful piece of skill from Scott-Morriss, flicking the ball over and away from the stricken home defender with one deft touch, left him in the clear down the right hand side that he had probed from all game. On this occasion the cross matched the build-up play, as his pin-point delivery evaded the 2 home defenders to land at the feet of Frendo. As befits a player with his goal scoring reputation, Frendo showed good composure to control the ball perfectly, before despatching it with his left foot past Zaki Oualah in the home goal.

From this point on Royston looked to preserve their hard earned lead and they were able to see out the remainder of the game without any alarm, bringing to an end Aylesbury’s 3 match winning streak in the league and in doing so bringing them level on points with the ducks.

Hopefully last Saturday’s performance has been put to bed, as apart from this one blip, Royston once again looked strong defensively. The continuing problem remains in the final third, as apart from a productive 15 minute spell, Royston struggled to create any meaningful chances. The match saw a fifth successive different front three deployed, perhaps in trying to find the solution more questions are being created rather than answered?

Royston: 1-Paine, 2-Scott-Morriss, 3-Watters, 4-May, 5-Frater, 6-Murray, 7-Fehmi ©, 8-Mentis, 9-Thomas, 10-Powell, 11-Castiglione

Subs: 15-Cohen (for Powell 69), 16-Ingrey (for Castiglione 69), 17-Frendo (for Fehmi 62)