Crows boss lays down challenge

ROYSTON Town s push for promotion took a further dent at Ampthill on Saturday, as The Crows failed to close the gap at the top of the South Midlands Division One table. In a performance that manager Paul Attfield described as depressing , Royston were l

ROYSTON Town's push for promotion took a further dent at Ampthill on Saturday, as The Crows failed to close the gap at the top of the South Midlands Division One table.

In a performance that manager Paul Attfield described as "depressing", Royston were lucky to come away from Ampthill Town with a point, with Gregg Jackson's 92nd minute strike sparing their blushes to earn a 2-2 draw.

Attfield told The Crow: "From our point of view the game was very depressing and I think we were very fortunate to take anything from the game.

"It was by far the worst performance I have seen this season, and if anything, I think we robbed Ampthill of three points, because they deserved to win."

And it was an impressive performance by the hosts, with the draw increasing their unbeaten run to four league games.

Leading scorer Stuart Reynolds put them in front midway through the first half, when he took advantage of some sloppy defending and directed the ball past Damion Williamson with a clever header.

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Royston skipper Allan Reid levelled just before half time, but Ampthill were back in front on the hour-mark, with Martin Wells catching The Crows' defence off guard.

Just as the game looked beyond Royston's reach, substitute Jackson grabbed his second goal in as many games, firing home a confident injury time strike.

In a damning assessment of his side's performance, Attfield said: "We didn't really create many chances and for the first time this season, I thought we looked very vulnerable at the back.

"And all over the pitch, we looked unmotivated, disinterested and off the pace.

The bulk of the players didn't look like they wanted to play - there was just no desire.

"From a manager's point of view, I've found it difficult to understand what went wrong. It was just a very disappointing game."

The Crows have now picked up just six points from their last five games, having taking maximum points from their previous five.

"The last thing that I want to see is all our hard work thrown away, because we've let a few points slip away lately," said Attfield.

And in an attempt to shake things up, Attfield fielded the majority of Saturday's squad in the club's reserve team match at Broxbourne Borough on Tuesday night.

He said: "I just needed to put things right and I decided to use the game to rectify a few problems. It wasn't ideal to do that, in fact it was embarrassing, but I needed to see an improvement in their effort."

And Attfield will be hoping his drastic tactic proves effective, with difficult games with New Bradwell St Peter and Haringey Borough on the horizon.

"We've got two big games, starting with New Bradwell on Saturday, and then Haringey at home on Tuesday," he said.

"I still think promotion is in our hands. However, if we play like that again I don't think we'll be so lucky.

"They will be two difficult games, and I don't think we can afford another slip-up.

"I've always been very complimentary about the players, so I'm not used to being so critical. But they need to respond and show me that they want to win.

"After Saturday a few places are possibly under threat, with only three players emerging with any credit - the performance wasn't even fit for pub football!

"Over the next two games I'm going to be looking for maximum effort, and a vast improvement in their desire. We need to get things right for our last six games."

Attfield has also called upon the club's fantastic support, in a bid to see Royston home in their remaining Garden Walk fixtures.

He said: "The support down at Garden Walk has been brilliant, and with only two games left their support will be crucial. The fans have been exemplary and they have played a big part in our remarkable home record.

"Their vocal support is really appreciated, and if they can turn out in force for the remaining games, they could play an important part in our chase for promotion.

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