Brave Crows bow out of FA Vase in replay
Leiston 1 (Heath 2) Royston Town 0
SOMETIMES you just don’t get what you deserve in football.
And Tuesday night was one of those occasions for Royston Town who bowed out of the FA Vase with their heads held high after dominating both matches against Leiston.
In the end, though, the telling moment came as early as the second minute when Gareth Heath – who was sent off at Garden Walk on Saturday and wasn’t suspended for the replay – scored the winning goal to give the Suffolk side a home tie against Hythe Town.
The Crows players and supporters embarked on the 100-mile coach journey to Victory Road in high spirits but the early optimism took a huge blow within two minutes of the kick-off when, after a nervous start, the Crows allowed Heath to run all of 40 yards and fire a low shot past Lee Robinson from the edge of the box.
It was the worst possible start for Paul Attfield’s side but, just like Saturday, the set-back spurred his team on.
Centre-half David Cain was desperately unlucky not to restore parity when his curling effort from 18 yards was superbly tipped over by Jamie Stannard when the ball seemed destined for the top corner.
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Moments later another good passing move from Royston resulted in George Brinkman creating a half-yard of space on the edge of the area only to see his low drive parried away by Stannard.
It was all Royston at this point as they knocked the ball around superbly despite the boggy playing surface.
Leiston were certainly a threat on the counter attack, though, and Robinson had to be at his best on a few occasions to keep out efforts from Heath and Michael Brothers.
The home supporters grew more and more frustrated as the half wore on as their team were unable to get to grips with the Crows’ neat passing play.
Josh Bronti should have done better just before the break when he fired high and wide from the edge of the area following patient build-up play from Tom Malins on the left.
Royston started the second half in a similar fashion to how they had finished the first and Ryan Lockett had the best chance of the match to grab an equaliser in the 55th minute. Substitute Ashley Grinham played a diagonal ball forward to the head of Brinkman who sent Lockett clean through on goal with a brilliant flick but the Crows striker was thwarted by Stannard from 12 yards and the ball went out for a corner.
Lockett held his head in his hands at the realisation his team would probably not get a better chance to get themselves back into the match.
Chances were becoming fewer and further between as Leiston seemed content to sit back and play on the break. Royston continued to pass the ball well and dominate possession but Leiston had plenty of chances to finish the game off on the counter attack.
Cain had another chance to grab the equaliser midway through the second half when the ball dropped at his feet inside the area only to then lash the ball wide of the right-hand post.
The introduction of striker Xaniel Doku failed to yield any more chances for Royston but there was still time for Robinson to pull off a fantastic save to deny Michael Brothers in the last minute who had hit a fierce volley from just six yards out.
It was a disappointing result for Royston but the performance was certainly one they can be proud of and Attfield will hope they can replicate this form in the league.
Royston Town: Robinson, Endacott (Grinham 45) (Apostolos 83), Cain, McElvoy, Collins (c), Bronti, Edwards, Welch, Malins, Lockett (Doku 76), Brinkman