Attfield takes positives despite first league defeat
Leaders Godalming leave Garden Walk with all three points
Evo-Stik Southern League
Royston Town 1
Godalming Town 3
ROYSTON TOWN manager Paul Attfield says he took plenty of positives out of Saturday’s match against league-leaders Godalming Town – despite suffering a first defeat of the season.
The Crows went behind to a first-half own goal by defender Jack Bradshaw, before the visitors doubled their lead on the hour mark through Dan Read. Bradshaw made amends for his earlier mistake by pulling a goal back with 12 minutes to go, but as the hosts piled forward in search of an equaliser, Darren Wheeler made certain of the victory in the last minute.
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Although Attfield was disappointed to concede the first two goals via set-plays, the Crows boss felt his team more than matched a strong Godalming outfit for long spells at Garden Walk.
“We were just a little bit short on the day,” Attfield told the Royston Crow. “They are definitely the best team we have faced so far this season, but we let ourselves down defensively from set-plays. Godalming didn’t have to do a lot to get their goals which was disappointing, but it was always going to be tough against a side that had only conceded one goal in five games prior to Saturday.
“They are a very strong team and they read each other’s games very well. They were determined in everything they did, and they had a lot of know-how. They were very good aerially, which is something we’ll have to improve on because there are a lot of big, strong teams in this league and if we don’t improve on set-plays we’ll concede goals.
“But from what I’ve seen so far this season, we’ve been better than most of the teams we’ve faced, and we certainly haven’t been dictated to by any means, so we’re doing okay.”
Royston started the match brightly and could have taken an early lead when a brisk move down the left ended with a 20-yard shot from Carl Edwards that the keeper saved low to his right.
Royston’s defending was largely very effective against a very fine attacking unit with the home side always looking likely to cause problems on the counter attack.
Dealing with crosses was a particular problem for Royston on the day and another cross from the right was headed just wide of the post but the visitors weren’t to be denied when they were gifted a 17th minute lead. A free header from a near-post delivery was soft but the goal-bound effort hit Bradshaw’s outstretched leg and trickled over the line.
The second half started with Royston on top. Another shot from Edwards was turned away by the keeper with Edwards’ follow-up from a tight angle blocked on the line by a combination of keeper and defender.
With Royston getting on top they again were undone by set plays. A 25 yard free kick took a wicked deflection off the wall and whilst Norris made the superb reflex save the ball was smashed home from close range only for a raised offside flag to cut short celebrations. That wasn’t the case moments later when another corner to the far post was again met by a Godalming player. The eight-yard header came back off the post but again it was a visiting player who reacted quickest to the loose ball and this time the goal stood.
Attfield’s side showed good character to try and get back into the game. Ryan Ingrey had a flashing 25-yard drive towards the top corner superbly tipped over before Attfield gambled by putting the physical Martin Standen up front in a move that nearly paid dividends. On 75 minutes a half-cleared corner was met by a half-volley from Brashaw from 20 yards out that flew into the top corner.
The Crows pressed hard but the visitors showed sheer resilience. Another right wing cross was headed just wide by Luke Robins before an unsavoury incident just before the 90 minute mark saw two Godalming players dismissed by referee Panconi to reduce the visitors to nine men for the remaining moments.
Royston pummelled the Godalming penalty area but couldn’t get any breaks and a last minute counter-attack saw Wheeler run past a couple of withering, tired tackles and shoot under the exposed Norris to settle the match.
Royston Town: Norris, Parr, Wilson, DeLaSalle, Bradshaw, Collins (Martin Standen), Edwards, Malins (Endacott), Ingrey, Fehmi (Matt Standen), Robins.
n Royston travel to fellow Evo-Stik League Southern Central Division side Uxbridge on Saturday for a first round tie of the FA Trophy. Visit www.roystontownfc.co.uk for information on tickets and coach travel.