Crows outfox Rickmansworth

PUBLISHED: 12:34 03 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 11 May 2010

Royston 4 Rickmansworth 0 DUE to numerous cancelled and postponed matches, the Crows went into the game against Rickmansworth on Saturday having not played a competitive fixture since early December. Despite their lack of match practise Royston fought har

Royston 4 Rickmansworth 0

DUE to numerous cancelled and postponed matches, the Crows went into the game against Rickmansworth on Saturday having not played a competitive fixture since early December.

Despite their lack of match practise Royston fought hard throughout and had the better of the earlier opportunities with Mike Welding twice putting shots just wide of the post and Owen Russell totally miscuing an open goal opportunity.

Eventually Graham Mack opened the scoring and it was his goal which gave Royston the lead at half time.

Rickmansworth pressed hard during the second period but lacked imagination, often opting for a direct route to the host's goal.

Royston on the other hand struggled to find any fluency when pushing forward.

Their play wasn't helped by an injury to captain Andy Drage who, with 20 minutes still to play, was struck in the head by a lifted ball and, after a lengthy injury break, was escorted to hospital.

When the match resumed, the hosts began to play with more aggression and soon doubled their lead with a strike by Russell.

It was not long before Welding added a third to put Royston in control of the match and although the visitors still looked to open their tally, they were met with some uncompromising defending for which the home side received a team green card.

Any doubt as to the outcome of this game was ended once Nick Hurd fired in the fourth of the match.

Rickmansworth concluded proceedings by winning a string of short corners but failed to convert any of them.

This result leaves Royston sitting second in the league with two games in hand over there nearest rivals.

Royston II 3 Stevenage IV 0

After last week's postponement Royston once again put in an unpolished performance.

It was none-the-less hard fought and they showed a good deal of patience as the Stevenage defence proved to be a lot more stubborn than their last meeting which ended in a 13 goal demolition.

Royston had the best of the play in the first half but many of their passes went uncompleted and the forward line never latched onto a clear cut chance.

Some strong running from Mike Hill on the left could have made inroads but Stevenage demonstrated some agricultural tackling to stop him in his tracks.

They did, however, chalk up a string of penalty corners, but their rustiness showed and they failed to convert from any and the Crows could have gone one down if it wasn't for the crafty defensive play from sweeper Clive Biddlecombe.

The second half saw Royston try to open the game up more by playing wider.

This provided some success as man-of-the-match Steven Priest probed down the right, ably supported by Perry Noble.

However the final ball was lacking and Royston couldn't make the break through.

As the half progressed frustrations began overflowed, but after a quick change in personnel Royston settled back into the match and Jacobs, shifting into the middle of midfield, proved to be a good pivot and this also freed up Ian Harper on the right.

It was through his run into the D that saw Royston finally break the deadlock as Darren Hicks edged the ball into the goal from a reverse stick.

This seemed to break Stevenage's resolve and Hicks doubled his tally soon after with another well taken strike.

As the game came to a close, Royston were awarded a stroke from a penalty corner and Nick Freeman kept up his scoring run from the penalty spot.

Captain Matt Allsopp said of the game: "Leagues are won by grinding out victories and that's just what we did. "The boys showed a good deal of character by keeping at it from start to finish, and we got the three points we deserved.

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