Crows move back to the summit
Ryan Lockett and Jack Bradshaw strikes seal win over AFC Hayes
Royston Town 2
AFC Hayes 0
Evo-Stik Southern Central Division
The Crows returned to the Summit of the Southern League Central Division One after a hard-fought win against a robust AFC Hayes side on Saturday.
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After a minute’s silence in memory of former Royston Town club captain and manager John Smith, the Crows attacked the Brook from the off, with Luke Robins trying to emulate the England rugby players with a speculative shot that went high and over on three minutes.
The ever-busy Robins continued to give the Hayes defence problems and on 10 minutes Ben Goode produced a fantastic save from the winger when the ball looked like nestling in the back of the net.
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After this The Brook resorted to robust tactics that resulted in a booking for Willis on Sam Spencer. The Brook midfielder could count himself lucky that it was only a yellow instead of an early bath for an ugly two-footed lunge.
Royston continued to press and a rocket from Lockett produced yet another excellent save from the Hayes keeper. Royston, though, were not to be denied and on 15 minutes after a never-give-up attitude from Robins, he fed the lurking Lockett on the edge of the area who made no mistake to give the Crows a deserved lead.
On 22 minutes Andrew Harewood, on a rare foray for Hayes, burst into the Royston penalty area only to be superbly marshalled away by De La Salle. Shortly after this, the impressive Lewis Endacott ghosted past four Hayes players only for a last ditch tackle from Charlie Crane to deny him a chance on goal.
The second period saw Aban Majeed, who had been expertly marshalled by Endacott, replaced by Tashan Jordan and the Hayes player caused problems for Royston straight from the restart. On 53 minutes he sprinted past Endacott and his cross caused panic in the Royston defence which De La Salle cleared quickly.
The Crows did not learn from this and on 65 minutes another break from Jordan with a twist and cross found Lawrie Shennan unmarked in the Crows box, a last ditch tackle from De La Salle saved Royston from an equalising goal.
This seemed to stir the away side into action and Will Norris superbly saved a goal-bound shot from Laurie Walters on 81 minutes. As Hayes pressed forward, the Crows took advantage and in injury-time after a goal mouth scramble, Jack Bradshaw popped up in the Hayes area and poked home a second goal that sealed a precious win for the Crows.
The Crows have played better and lost in the past, so a warning shot has been fired across the bows of fellow title contenders.
Royston Town: Norris, Endacott, Bradshaw, McDevitt, De La Salle, Spencer (Ingrey), Collins (c), Standen, Lockett (Fehmi), Edwards, Robins (Malins).