Crows on a mission and up to fifth as visitors are taken to Church
Royston showed character to come back from a goal down to win 4-1; but task was made easier when Alvechurch’s goalkeeper was sent off for handling the ball outside his penalty area in 21st minute.
Royston extended their unbeaten run of league games to five and went to fifth in the division after a heated game at Garden Walk which lent as much to the refereeing decisions on the pitch as it did the scorching weather conditions off of it.
It wasn’t a dirty game — by any means — however somehow the visitors ended the game with nine men, plus their coach was sent from the dugout.
Back to the game: and it was a fairly even start to the match with the visitors maybe fractionally the better of the two sides.
Slow starts have been a creeping in matches in recent weeks for games involving Royston, but credit to them for being patient, as Alvechurch worked the ball well in unforgiving conditions.
Church will be looking back at a penalty shout that wasn’t given in the 10th minute, when there was a huge appeal collectively from the away fans present, as well as the players on the field, but the referee waved play on.
Four minutes later however, the visitors went in front thanks to a goal from Ammar Dyer whose header at the back post came courtesy of an excellent ball in from Josh Dugmore who flighted the ball into the area from a deep right position.
The turning point of the match occurred in the 17th minute when Ronnie Henry hit a long ball forward which grazed the head of one of Alvechurch’s midfielders and Flo Tsaguim raced forward to meet the outrushing goalkeeper. Harvey Randle made contact with the ball in his area initially but then unintentionally spilled it, lost control, albeit momentarily, and in the heat of the moment handled the football outside the area.
He gave the referee little choice but to send the visiting keeper off for an early, cold shower.
From the resulting free-kick Adam Murray equalised after the substitute keeper Charlie Emery had made a fine save to deny Alfie Williams from the set piece — but he could only push the ball onto the post and Royston’s influential defender followed up. The visitors claims for offside were loud but fell on deaf ears as neither the referee nor his assistant gave the decision.
Cain Keller put the Crows beaks in front in the 35th minute after some good play down the Royston left. Defender Henry once again pinged a nice long ball behind the Alvechurch defence which made them turn towards their own goal. The ball found Keller, who stole the ball off their full back, cut inside, and scored, low and hard, past Emery.
The impetus and momentum was now with the Crows and another long ball from Henry was brought down excellently by full-back Greg Sandiford, the sponsors’ Player of the Match, who took the ball on, cut in side but saw his goal bound shot blocked.
2-1 at Half-Time.
Royston enjoyed the lions share of possession after the interval which saw the visitors drop deep as the Crows moved the ball from side-to-side of the pitch, making the opposition work hard in the 30 degree plus heat.
A chance for Alvechurch came in the 61st minute when Jaanai Gordon brought down a long ball and kept hold of it before hitting his effort over the bar.
Next to see a red card was Alvechurch manager, Ian Long, who was given his marching orders in the 71st minute for a second yellow card; with one of his assistants was cautioned, too.
Minutes later Gordon was unlucky again for Church, as Royston gave the ball away and he accelerated towards goal but his shot was saved by Louis Chadwick.
Royston looked comfortable in the main, though, and Samson Esan weighed in with a goal in 76th minute to make it 3-1 after substitute Juwon Akintunde got to the byline and crossed the ball to the back post for Esan to chest the effort home.
Royston scored a fourth and capped off the performance with two minutes to go when Keller netted his second of the day after Murray won the ball and it deflected to the creative and dangerous midfielder.
In the 89th minute, the visitors day went from bad to worse when Dyer was the third person to be sent off for Alvechurch after a “quick fire double yellow card” according to the official Alvechurch Twitter account.
Alvechurch manager, Ian Long, took to social media himself after the match: “What a day: sent off for asking isn’t that a booking, beaten 4-1, two sent off, and now to top it all off the coach driver has gone missing”.
Joint Royston Town manager, Chris Watters, said: “A very good week on the training pitch and some statistical insights put into practice today. 10 men can often be an awkward dynamic, especially when 1 down but really pleased the lads remained patient and built their chances. Well done, Fellas.”