|Date||Wednesday 16th August 2017|
|Match||Farnborough v Royston Town|
|Competition||Evostik League Southern: Premier Division|
Royston came away from The Rushmoor Community Stadium with their first 3 point haul of the season after a hard fought win in the battle of the two sides promoted from the Southern Central division last year.
Steve Castle made 3 changes to the side from Saturday’s game with Gus Scott-Morriss and Sam Ives named on the bench Ed Asafu-Adjaye and Lee Chappell started as full backs, with Dan Brathwaite moving to the centre of defence to partner Adam Murray. Josh Castiglione replaced the injured Adam Marriott and there were places on the bench for both Sam Corcoran and Ryan Ingrey.
Farnborough certainly started the brighter, taking the game to Royston from the off and creating some early openings, the best of which Perry Coles dragged wide and none of which worked Joe Welch in the Crows goal.
The decisive moment of this tight match came in the 16th minute. Home skipper Josh Huggins conceded a free kick for a bad foul on Martel Powell that could quite easily have seen a red card brandished. The referee showed some leniency in only showing a yellow but Royston gleaned revenge from the resulting free kick. Having only half cleared the initial delivery Powell played the ball back into the box, where Stuart Bridges applied a sublime flick to set James Potton clear on the right hand side of the area. Potton made no mistake with a hard low shot into the bottom corner to give the travelling supporters an early goal to celebrate.
After the bright start, defences gradually began to get on top, as the game became a little fragmented with a succession of free kicks being conceded by both sides, with Royston’s attacking forays in particular being thwarted by straying into offside positions. For their part Farnborough were looking most dangerous when Nic Ciardini drifted infield from his wide position and a number of times found pockets of space but was ultimately unable to make any of them tell.
The second half signalled a slightly more open game as Farnborough asserted themselves more in search of the equaliser and Royston looked to play more on the counter attack. Defences remained on top and as the half wore on the home side became a little more direct, which suited the Crows defence, as in particular Adam Murray came to the fore dealing with the longer ball in his usual dominant style.
When Farnborough did manage to create any openings they found Joe Welch in good form as first in the 56th minute he came off his line swiftly and made a point blank save to deny Coles from close range after a good run and cross from Ciardini. He then made his second crucial stop 4 minutes from time, as he clawed away Jack Saville’s close range header from Ciardini’s free kick.
If anything can be gleaned from the first two games of the season it can be that fine margins are going to be decisive at this higher level of football. On Saturday Royston could quite justifiably claim that they were deserving of a draw, tonight the boot was on the other foot as Farnborough will have thought that they were worthy of claiming a point from this close encounter. Whereas on Saturday Stratford were clinical in front of goal tonight it was Royston who took full advantage of one of the few chances that either side managed to create, and in doing so claimed the precious 3 points.
Royston: 1-Welch, 2-Asafu-Adjaye, 3-Chappell, 4-Bridges, Scott ©, 5-Murray, 6- Brathwaite, 7-Potton, 8- Bridges, Stuart, 9-Frendo, 10- Powell, 11- Castiglione
Subs: 15- Corcoran (for Powell 65), 16- Nolan (for Frendo 67), 17- Ingrey (for Bridges, Stuart 77)
Unused: 12- Scott-Morriss, 14- Ives
|1||EFFORTS ON TARGET||2|
|2||EFFORTS OFF TARGET||8|
|15||FREE KICKS AWARDED||21|