Champion Crows utilise their squad in draw at Fleet

Royston Town captain Scott Bridges. Picture: Kevin Richards

Royston Town captain Scott Bridges. Picture: Kevin Richards - Credit: Archant

Royston Town’s Southern Division One Central match at Fleet Town succumbed to the classic ‘after the main event scenario’.

It was a 1-1 draw and a low-key follow up to the fantastic achievement of securing the league title in the week leading up to the game.

Steve Castle used this effectively dead rubber game to rest certain players who have played through multiple niggles and knocks to get the team over the line. Internal targets have been set though and the squad will be asked to re-focus on these to see the normal season out and lead up to the Champions Cup match that will be played against Hereford United on April 29.

Dan Brathwaite was given a start at left-back, Spyros Mentis handed the anchor role, Kaan Fehmi was asked to play wider, with the absence of Rod Orlando-Young who is currently on trial with Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, while with Ryan Towner and Adam Watkins rested there was also a debut bench place for 17-year-old Michael Baulk.

It was 12 minutes in before the visitors managed an effort on the home goal. Scott Bridges swung in a free-kick and John Frendo rose to head well wide. Fleet hit back with a soft move up the middle that went unchallenged but their shot was also off target.

On 34 minutes the scoring was opened with some better work by Fehmi, switched to left wing, and he cut back and delivered a perfect hanging cross giving Frendo ample time to assess and deliver a well-directed header home for 1-0.

At half-time Castle looked at minor aches, pains and knocks to protect players and removed Josh Castiglione and Adam Murray from the action replacing with Ryan Ingrey and Ryan Frater.

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This was a low tempo half where the Crows never got into second gear. Skipper Bridges put a good shot just over but Fleet got an equaliser from a handball-inducing penalty that Ben White stuck past Welch for 1-1.

The Crows toiled in the heat but it was Fleet who equally felt they could win the three points against a clearly under par opponent.

Fehmi shot over on 70 minutes, Fleet wasted a good free-kick on 78 minutes, Fehmi made the keeper dive and work on 82 minutes and Fleet hit the side-netting a minute later. Two really good efforts by Watkins in the last few minutes nearly nicked it for the Crows but both went wide.