Royston were left still looking for their first victory of the new league season, as The Marketman deservedly took the 3 points on Tuesday evening.
The home side were particularly dominant in the first half, as the Crows struggled to cope with the pace and incisiveness of the Needham attacks. Warnings were there as early as the 4th minute, as a strong run from Callum Page, ended with him laying the ball off to Ben Fowkes, who saw his shot skim off the top of the bar.
Royston responded immediately and Taylor Parr should really have done better when presented with a free header from a James Brighton corner, but his effort easily cleared the crossbar. The Crows were soon made to pay for this profligacy, as Fowkes was presented with another chance in the 13th minute, this time he tucked the ball in the bottom corner to give the home side the lead.
One became two ten minutes later, as a half-cleared corner was collected on the corner of the box by Byron Lawrence, who sent a dipping, swerving shot into the far corner.
The pattern of play was set, as Royston played more hopeful balls, whilst Needham continued to attack with real intent and purpose, typified by Page who saw another surging run and shot narrowly go past the post.
Despite lacking their usual intensity the Crows still fashioned a couple of opportunities, a fine saving tackle from Adam Mills thwarted Jonny Edwards as he was about to pull the trigger and Josh Castiglione was as stunned as most of the crowd, when his run into the box was stopped illegally by a home defender, unfortunately not illegally enough in the ref’s opinion, for what looked like a certain penalty.
There was still time for home stopper Marcus Garnham to save from Gus Scott-Morriss’ toe-poked effort, with Edwards heading the rebound over the bar, but half-time arrived with Needham rightly 2 goals to the good.
As was to be expected, the Crows came tearing out of the blocks at the start of the second half. A slight change in personnel and formation saw them go to a 3-5-2 with the clear instruction to press the home side. This immediately paid dividends, as Adam Watkins overhit pass found Scott-Morriss, who did well to pull the ball back from the goal-line, finding Edwards who finished from close range.
Almost immediately, Royston thought they were level as Edwards poked a loose ball into the net, but celebrations were instantly cut short by the linesmans flag.
The Crows continued on the front foot, taking the game to Needham, but without threatening Garnham in the home goal. Gradually Needham got themselves back into the game and started to pose a threat, as Gareth Heath saw his shot rebound off a post. Their pace on the break continued to trouble the Crows and it was no surprise when a quick break from substitute Luke Ingram saw him tee up Fowkes for the game deciding third goal in the 83rd minute.
Royston still pushed forward and were nearly rewarded in the 89th minute, as Garnham made a fine, low, one-handed save from a close range Taylor Parr header, but in the end, the 3-1 scoreline was a fair reflection on the overall game.
Royston: 1-Welch, 22-Scott-Morriss, 14-Brighton, 18-Green (2-Asafu-Adjaye 46), 3-Brathwaite ©, 6-Parr, 7-Castiglione (11-Galliford 71), 4-Bridges, 10-Edwards, 8-Watkins (24-Rotimi 78), 9-Adams
Unused: 17-Williams, 20-Newton
|ROYSTON TOWN||NEEDHAM MARKET|
|6||EFFORTS ON TARGET||4|
|6||EFFORTS OFF TARGET||7|
|8||FREE KICKS AWARDED||12|