ROYSTON TOWN FC v EBBSFLEET UNITED FC
Saturday 8th February 2020
Royston Town’s incredible run in the FA Trophy continued on Saturday, as they added the scalp of National League Ebbsfleet United to the other three, higher ranking teams, already disposed of, in this unbelievable adventure that shows no signs of stopping.
The game was certainly not one for the purist, but what it lacked in skill, was more than made up for in effort, determination and endeavour, as no quarter was given nor asked, as for most parts both teams cancelled each other out.
The large away crowd, probably the biggest contingent of travelling Crows in living memory, were almost given something to shout about immediately, as Claudio Ofosu saw a 3rd-minute effort cleared off the line by Lawrie Wilson. What had really charged up the vocal away support though, was the apparent handball in the penalty area that had blocked Josh Castiglione’s original effort.
The Fleet soon responded though, as a long ball set Tomi Adeloye free, whose cut-back was met by Josh Umerah, who saw his effort superbly blocked by Crows skipper Adam Murray.
Despite these two early chances, the game became a tight physical affair, with only set plays looking likely to see the deadlock broken. Indeed, the only effort of the half to trouble either keeper, came in the 26th minute, as a free-kick into the box, ultimately saw Joe Welch comfortably save Gozie Ugwu’s header.
The second half followed in much the same vein, as both sides lacked the guile and craft required to unlock the two well organised, hard-working sides. The best chances of the half came at the beginning and end, as in the 48th minute Welch saved well at the feet of Umerah, managing to deflect his effort over the bar. The clearest chance of the whole game fell to Jermaine McGlashen in stoppage time, but after a good run and pull back from Ugwu, McGlashen saw his shot flash the wrong side of the post, with Welch beaten.
Having struggled to create a clear-cut chance throughout the 90 minutes, it was Royston who finally found the cutting edge that had previously eluded both teams. With 92 minutes on the clock, a strong run from Castiglione, evading a desperate home challenge, which he did well to ride and stay on his feet, resulted in him digging out a quality cross from the byeline to the back post. Substitute Josh Oyinsan climbed well, directing his header downwards, and just beyond the goalline, despite the best efforts of David Gregory in the home goal. A pleading set of away players and coaches turned to the linesman for confirmation of the goal, with the Crows fans sent into raptures with the signal that the ball had indeed crossed the line.
Having started to look tired towards the end of the 90 minutes, the goal gave the Crows a renewed burst of energy as the players continued to graft tirelessly, despite cramp and knocks beginning to take their toll. With something to hang onto, Royston stuck to their task well, continuing to deny time and space to the home side. Ebbsfleet continued to press though and nearly had their equaliser as a fine move, that defied the quality of football previously displayed, opened up the Crows defence, Welch though was not to be beaten, as he saved well from Frankie Sutherland’s well-struck shot.
The second half of extra time saw Royston defending superbly, snuffing out anything the home side had to offer, whilst looking to exploit the gaps that were opening up in the home defence. The crucial second goal nearly arrived in the 114th minute as a Castiglione lay-off saw Brandon Adams racing clear, only to be thwarted by an excellent save from Gregory.
The Crows were not to be denied though, as immediately a quick Adams throw sent Matt Bateman racing clear on goal and he made no mistake, as he slipped the ball under the advancing Gregory to send the away support into jubilation.
The second goal extinguished the home teams efforts, and despite 5 minutes of added time, the players and support staff were soon, once again celebrating with the crowd, as the referee blew for full time, sending the Crows into the quarter-final and 2 rounds away from a date at Wembley.
Royston: 1-Welch, 2-Scott-Morriss, 3-Brighton (14-Warner-Eley 90), 4-Bridges, 5-Murray ©, 6-Martin, 7-Mentis (16-Green 77), 8-Asafu-Adjaye, 9-Ofosu (12-Oyinsan 62 (15-Adams 95)), 10-Bateman, 11-Castiglione
Unused: 17-Brathwaite, 18-Parr, GK-Smart
MOM: Ben Martin
|EFFORTS ON TARGET
|EFFORTS OFF TARGET
|FREE KICKS AWARDED