Match Report: Royston Town v Marlow

Date Saturday 4 October 2014
Match Royston Town v Marlow
Competition Southern  League: Central Division One
Result Won 3-1
Royston Scorers Watters, Hammond(2)
Crows MoM
Craig Hammond

After a two week break from action Royston Town hosted a Marlow side, buoyant from a great result against league leaders Kettering Town, with the home side looking to increase their unbeaten league run to six matches.

Steve Castle shuffled his squad pack slightly, keeping his back line the same, shifting Spyros Mentis to centre midfield for the absent Scott Bridges, bringing in Ryan Lockett and Chris Watters for starts. With long term medical absentees, Robbie Mason and Luke Robins, active in the warm-up the underlying strength of the Crows’ playing squad is plain to see as the management deal with the normal ins and outs of suspensions and injuries.

The weather had a game of two halves with the first played in streaming rain and the second finishing in bright sunshine.

The game started at high tempo which caught Marlow out and with the visitors on the back foot the Crows took full advantage in the third minute as a neat early move up the right wing saw Craig Hammond intelligent pass find Lockett whose classic accurate by-line cut back found Chris Watters who stabbed the ball home from 8 yards giving Oneal Garnes in the Marlow goal no chance.

The visitors responded well and the next forty minutes of the first half was a close and even affair with Royston’s high energy but more thoughtful build up play being fragmented by Marlow’s resilience and pacey break-away football that the Crow’s defence dealt with showing composure and a welcome modicum of self-belief.

In the latter part of the first period Marlow conceded a series of free-kicks which whilst the Crow’s consistently probed with these, with big men up from the back, if no game stopping effort was seen, this led to further Blues’ speedy breaks which the home side usually dealt with well.

Striker Hammond got the Crows’ second goal just before the break with a moment of quality from full-back and skipper Jack Bradshaw delivering a thing of beauty, a perfect right foot spearing, searching, teasing cross that still needed finishing and the big number 10 arrived perfectly to side foot volley home with a controlled and well executed finish.

In an even second half Marlow showed desire to get back in this game but saw the Royston defence dealing admirably with the sporadic surges and the game was effectively finished as a contest on 51 minutes when another bit of quality from Watters as he surged up the left and cut in with strength, looping a high cross for Hammond to soar and head in from 6 yards.

Castle made three substitutions with young debutant Kane Adams replacing Watters and Reece Dobson and Gary Hart coming on for the hard-working Lewis Endacott and Kaan Fehmi respectively.

Credit to Marlow whom got a goal back on 69 minutes with a superb, absolutely unstoppable free-kick from Nathan Ashton that skimmed the wall and found the top left corner of Paul Bastock’s net to give them scant consolation.

The game finished at 3-1 with the home side undoubtedly pleased with their afternoon’s labour and another important 3 points against potentially tricky opponents who hopefully will continue to take points off of the better teams this season.

Castle’s post match blog included “I felt the attitude of the lads was brilliant. We produced some good football, some resolute defending and limited a tough team to a solitary free kick goal, which to be fair was a bit special”.

Team: Bastock, Bradshaw, Endacott (Hart), Theobald, Powell, Mentis, Bridges Stuart, Lockett, Fehmi (Dobson), Hammond, Watters (Adams).      Subs not used – Wharton, Bond.