Bobby dazzles as Crows go marching on

Crows striker nets four as Royston seal extra-time win in Floodlit Cup on Tuesday night

CROWS striker Bobby Dance was the hero on Tuesday night as his four goals moved holders Royston Town into the third round of the Floodlit Cup.

The emphatic scoreline tells a rather different story, though, as the Crows had to wait until extra time before putting the match to bed with a further four goals after a resolute Cockfosters side had refused to be beaten in normal time.

The match started fairly slowly on what was a difficult playing surface at Garden Walk and it was the visitors who went ahead in the 39th minute of a largely uneventful first half when a cross from the right saw Crows goalkeeper Jorden Gibson fail in his attempt to punch the ball clear leaving Anton Lewis the easy task of heading into an unguarded net from close range.

The lead didn’t last long, though, as Royston went straight up the other end to grab the equaliser. Striker Ricky Young did well to find space on the left wing before producing a superb far-post cross to the onrushing Dance who headed back across goal into the far corner of the net.

Royston improved in the second half and they went ahead just past the hour-mark after the referee awarded a penalty when Martin Standen’s cross from the byline was handled by the Cockfosters defender. Dance was coolness personified as he calmly side-footed the spot kick past the ‘keeper.

Royston looked to be in control of the match and it seemed like a case of seeing the game out but Cockfosters had other ideas and grabbed an equaliser out of nowhere with 20 minutes remaining. A long ball forward was flicked on by the Cockfosters striker into the path of Dave Pigden who showed good strength to hold off Tom Whittaker before firing an unstoppable 25-yard effort past Gibson into the far corner.

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The game became increasingly more open in the latter stages as Cockfosters looked dangerous on the break with the pacy Lewis while Royston applied most of the attacking pressure.

The Crows really should have won the game before the end of normal time but efforts from Ryan Lockett and Standen were brilliantly cleared off the line by the visiting defenders.

As it was, the game entered extra time but it didn’t take long for Royston to put the game beyond Cockfosters when Dance scored a quickfire double in the 93rd and 94th minute.

The first arrived with Dance’s second penalty of the night following a foul on Tom Malins by the Cockfosters ‘keeper before he added his fourth with a tap-in after great wing play on the left from Lockett.

Understandably the Cockfosters players’ heads dropped after this and Royston took full advantage when substitute defender Liam McDevitt got his name on the scoresheet in the 102nd minute with a header which crept under the ‘keeper following Lockett’s in-swinging corner.

Cockfosters had a couple of opportunities to reduce the arrears in the second period of extra time and were unlucky to see one effort hit the crossbar and bounce off the line to safety.

The scoring was brought to an end in the 111th minute when Malins was sent clean through on goal before producing an excellent chip over the ‘keeper from outside the area. It was a fine goal from the winger and one which rounded off an eventually successful night for Paul Attfield’s side.

Royston Town: Gibson, Endacott, Cain, McGrandles (McDevitt 86), Whittaker, Lockett, Martin Standen (Lamacraft 105), Collins (c), Malins, Dance, Young (Edwards 86).

Attendance: 77