Crows fail to beat nine-man Burnham

Two points dropped on Saturday

Evo-Stik Southern League

Burnham 1 Royston Town 1

THE CROWS were left frustrated on Saturday as they could only earn a point against nine-man Burnham, writes David Baulk.

Before the game it could be said that a point would have been a good result against The Blues who stood at third in the table but after seeing the home team lose two players late in the first half Royston must ultimately be disappointed with the final score.

Due to injuries and suspensions, Duncan Easley and Martin Paine were short of first choice defenders and put together a make-shift back line-up with Sam Spencer moving to centre-half and skipper Ross Collins stepping into the left-back position.

The game started at a high tempo and Royston surged forward in the first minute with the referee missing a cast-iron penalty for the Crows for handball in the opening seconds.

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Burnham responded with a good move up the left with their final shot being blasted over the bar. This was the format of the first 20 minutes as Royston strived to play their controlled possession football but lacked any real shots on goal, with the home side breaking quickly only to see their own efforts going over the bar or past the post.

Kaan Fehmi was putting in a good shift despite carrying an injury and his hold up play brought Royston a bit more time around the box enabling Ryan Lockett to link up with the attackers well.

The match kicked into life just before half-time with dramatic scenes that did neither side any favours.

Firstly, Burnham had a great chance to take the lead on 43 minutes when they were awarded a penalty following Collins’ tackle inside the box. However, and for reasons known only to them, Burnham strikers Lewis Driver and Aaron Gooch were sent off for violent conduct in the aftermatch of their team’s penalty award.

And to make matters worse, Ryan Bird skied the resulting spot-kick over the crossbar to leave the match goalless at the half-time break.

The teams emerged from the dressing rooms with possibly different agendas for the second half as with Burnham being two men down Royston could smell three points while the hosts would look to cling on to a draw.

The Crows started on the front foot and pushed forward but carelessly left themselves open at the back and Will Norris was forced into making a fine save from a snap shot by Bird. Bird made no mistake on 50 minutes, though, when a miskicked clearance looped up and the striker volleyed home giving Norris no chance.

Again Royston pushed forward, patiently trying to build attacks with the nine man home side toiling to break them up and block any resulting shots. Royston got an equaliser from a penalty on 57 minutes with a low shot was handled by a defender. Fehmi stepped up confidently to power home the spot kick to restore parity.

The last 15 minutes saw wave after wave of Crow attacks but still no real penetration in front of goal. The best chance fell to Matt Standen on 90 minutes but he could only fire over from three yards when a winning goal seemed certain.

Royston Town: Norris, Parr, Bradshaw, Spencer, Collins (c), Edwards (Bronti), Lockett, Ingrey, Standen, Robins, Fehmi (Bull).