Wednesday, February 20, 2013
IN a game of four halves Royston Town surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead to go down 3-2 after extra-time against Potter Bar Town in the semi-final of the Herts Senior Cup, writes David Baulk.
With Royston fielding a strong starting line-up they all put in a determined first half performance with the midfield working hard in the soft going, being well supported by the defence bolstered by a returning John McGrandles.
The Crows deservedly took the lead in the 27th minute with Tommy Malins heading home a cross from Taylor Parr following a tricky run by the young right back.
Two minutes later the visitors were two up with a fine predatory finish from Kaan Fehmi latching onto a smart through pass from Malins.
The second half saw the home side come out stronger.
Their tempo of play was much better and Potter Bar’s movement on and off the ball continuously asked questions of the Royston team.
Royston did have good chances to increase their lead early on with McGrandles flicking a header against the post from a Joe DeLaSalle cross and the otherwise impressive Ryan Ingrey choosing to look for a pass rather than a shot in a dangerous position.
It took Potter Bar until the 82nd minute to trouble the scorer but then they replied with their own one-two sucker punch.
Firstly Daniel Ailey got one back with a crisp half volley and a minute later Jose Espinosa made things level with a calm finish after the Royston defence gave him far too long on the ball.
It was 2-2 at 90 minutes and extra time ensued.
Royston threatened most in the first half of extra-time with Ryan Lockett having a decent shot saved and Malins curling an effort just wide.
Up the other end McGrandles was called upon to head off the line to retain parity.
The second period of extra-time saw both teams tiring and with penalty kicks looking imminent it took a bit of individual enterprise in the 120th minute to win the cup-tie.
The lively Gary Wharton had been causing problems up the left wing and this time chose to cut in and make a run along the 18 yard box line before turning in a low right foot shot that nestled in the bottom of Will Norris’ goal to cue wild celebrations from the home side and book them a final place against Hemel Hempstead Town.
Royston Town: Norris, Parr, Wilson, Bradshaw, McGrandles, DeLaSalle, Collins (c), Malins, Fehmi (Lockett), Ingrey, Robins (Standen).
Subs not used – Edwards, Endacott, McDevitt.
Man of the Match – Ryan Ingrey
Attendance - 48