‘Champions-elect’ Royston Town send warning to title rivals with Boro blitz

Scott Bridges.

Scott Bridges. - Credit: Archant

Steve Castle’s Royston Town may have been guilty of ‘bottling it’ at the final hurdle in the past two seasons but they showed on Tuesday night that they may just have found the mental aptitude to get over the line this campaign.

The Crows, soaring on top of Southern League Division One Central, were superb from start to finish, out-shining feeble Farnborough, who look a distant second place after this trouncing, in every department.

The damage was done in the final four minutes of the first half as Matt Nolan, making only his second start for the club since moving from league rivals Arlesey Town, struck a brace to put the hosts 3-0 up.

Martel Powell had nodded the hosts in front on 20 minutes and the second half was more of the same as Royston increased their advantage.

Josh Castiglione supplied skipper Scott Bridges for number four on the hour before Adam Murray completed the rout with a quarter of an hour to go. A five-star showing from Town.

From the off, the home side were on top.

Inside the first 10 minutes Powell, Castiglione, and Ryan Ingrey all went close with efforts before Murray nodded a Stu Bridges free-kick inches wide of the upright on 17 minutes.

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Moments later they found themselves deservedly in front.

Ingrey made tracks down the right and served up a perfect cross for Powell to head powerfully beyond keeper Aaron Bufton.

Royston continued to press and Ingrey shot just wide just before the half-hour mark.

The Yellows then had their best chance of a difficult opening spell.

Eddie Smith took a tumble on the edge of the box and Sam Pearce fired the resulting free-kick at goal but it was blocked by the wall.

However, the rebound fell to Nic Cardini who brought a smart stop from Joe Welch.

Farnborough continued to battle but veteran Nolan, now 34, all but put the game beyond their meek visitors in the dying stages of the first period.

The home side were again deadly down their right and Castiglione’s delivery was hooked in by the former Peterborough United forward.

Three minutes later Nolan showed his versatility, heading in Murray’s flick-on from another dangerous Stu Bridges set-piece.

Royston wouldn’t have wanted the first half to end while Farnborough might have been contemplating getting back on the team bus and heading the 74 miles home.

As it was Boro boss Spencer Day used all his substitutes at the start of the second half with Smith, Ethan Allen and Jack Barton making way for George Jeacock, Jamal Batchilly and Curtis Osano.

The visitors slightly upped their game after the interval but Royston were never in danger of relinquishing their lead.

Ryan Towner tested Bufton from range while Powell had a goal-bound shot well blocked by full-back John Onunga.

Inevitably, Scott Bridges made it 4-0, smashing into the unguarded net after Castiglione had tormented down the left before late on Murray clouted in number five from a corner.

Job done for Royston who now sit eight points clear of Farnborough and still with a game in hand.

Boro hailed ‘champions-elect’ Royston on Twitter following the game which can only be mind games but Castle’s side have certainly put down a marker to their rivals with this eye-catching result.