Attfield’s men relish the battle
Royston Town 0 New Bradwell St Peter 0 WHEN the going got tough, Royston simply rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job. In recent months the young Crows have been praised for their free-flowing football and pass and move style. However, against
Royston Town 0
New Bradwell St Peter 0
WHEN the going got tough, Royston simply rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job.
In recent months the young Crows have been praised for their free-flowing football and pass and move style.
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However, against a tough New Bradwell St Peter team, Royston added a few new facets to their game, with a gritty, determined performance full of character and discipline.
It was a game that manager Paul Attfield says was his side's "toughest test yet" and one that will serve them well in the future.
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He told The Crow: "New Bradwell came here to win and it was a challenge for us.
"They have a very good defensive record and are a hard team to break down.
"They were good on the ball and very aggressive when we had possession, although, to be honest I thought they were probably a little overly physical but we have to expect that now and then."
'Overly physical' was probably being more than a little fair, with New Bradwell lucky to end the game with 11 players on the field after Luke Robins and Lewis Endacott were on the receiving end of two crude challenges.
But with the tackles coming in thick, fast, and quite often late, Royston never shirked the challenge, with skipper Allan Reid leading by example in the middle of the park.
It was a game the talented midfielder seemed to relish, with his combative, no-nonsense approach the perfect foil for Carl Edwards and Robins' forays forward.
Reid appears to be enjoying the captain's responsibilities and a new lease of life, with one of the coolest heads on the pitch.
"He led by example on Saturday and I thought he kept his discipline and the others' discipline very well," said Attfield.
"I think at times New Bradwell's physical approach knocked our composure, but on the whole we gave a good account of ourselves. It would have been easy to have lost our heads, but our discipline throughout was exemplary.
"We created enough opportunities to have come away with three points, but overall a draw was probably a fair result."
Chances were certainly there to be taken, and on another day striker Craig Hammond could have had another hat-trick, after missing a one-on-one inside three minutes.
The number nine was also unlucky in the closing stages, heading over from Endacott's cross from the right, and firing wide following New Bradwell keeper Shaun Abson's howler.
Fellow striker Ashley Townsend, making his Royston debut, also went close with one first-half effort, before Hammond's clever pass almost picked him out on the hour- mark.
Half chances also fell to both Reid and Edwards, before Robins hit the woodwork with a brilliant swerving free-kick in the dying seconds.
At the other end Damion Williamson was rarely troubled, with Endacott, Peter Chappell, David Cain, and Jamie Babbage comfortable throughout.
Impressive performances have caused a rise in fans' expectations.
However, Attfield has urged supporters to remain realistic.
He said: "A few people seemed to be a bit disappointed with the result, but for me it was positive.
"It was a point won, not two points lost, and we're now unbeaten in 10 games, and kept another clean sheet.
"We need to put things into perspective, because we can't win every game. We've exceeded expectations in moving up the table so quickly after originally targeting a mid-table spot.
"I feel that we need to be more realistic. Yes, it's been very exciting, and yes, it's been entertaining - but it's important that we keep level-headed."
Royston will look to extend that 10-game unbeaten run on Saturday when they entertain Sport London e Benfica in what promises be another challenging test.
The London-based club occupy seventh spot behind sixth-placed Crows, with both sides on 34 points, although Attfield's side have played one less game than their rivals.
He said: "We played very well against them back in December when we won 2-1, and I expect a similar game on Saturday.
"They will be looking to beat us, so it should be quite an open game - and definitely a good one for the spectators."
Royston Town: Williamson; Endacott, Chappell, Cain, J Babbage; Reid, Malins, Edwards, Robins; Hammond, Townsend. (Subs): Hollingsworth, Turl, Nicholls, M Babbage.