Crows secure third consecutive Floodlit Cup triumph
Royston Town 2-0 Tring Athletic SSMFL Senior Floodlit Cup Final
CROWS boss Paul Attfield said his team deserved their Floodlit Cup success over Tring last night (Thursday) after an impressive last two months of the season.
An early goal from captain Ross Collins gave Royston the lead in what was a game lacking in goalmouth incident, while Tom Malins wrapped up the 2-0 victory in stoppage time to secure a third straight success in the competition.
“There probably wasn’t an awful lot between the two sides on the night,” said Attfield.
“I thought we started the game really well and in the first 10 minutes we deserved to score and after our initial starting period we were probably unlucky not to score another one or two.
“Tring knocked some decent balls into the box and we had to defend really well in the second half but I didn’t think they really created much and Jorden (Gibson) didn’t have many saves to make.
“We always looked likely to hit them on the counter attack and probably over 90 minutes we were two goals better than them.
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“The players were well up for the game and you sensed that before the game. They wanted to end the season on a high and it’s a fitting way to end the season. We’ve played some really good football in the last two months so it’s finished it off nicely.
“Once we’ve got everyone fit we look a decent outfit. Tonight was actually the first time I’ve had all outfield players fit since October so it was nice to have a full squad to choose from. But we’ve been good in the last couple of months and we played a very good side tonight and deserved the win.”
Royston started by far the brighter side against the team who had beaten them to a second place league finish on the last day of the season on last Saturday, and they were a goal up after just five minutes when Collins slotted home an effort from 10 yards into the bottom corner.
Malins had a chance to double the lead shortly afterwards when he cut in from the left flank only to see his shot from 25 yards comfortably dealt with by the Tring goalkeeper.
Royston were marginally the better team throughout the first half but lone striker Matt Standen often struggled at the focal point of their attack to hold the ball up and, as a result, they were unable to enforce any prolonged periods of pressure in the opposition half.
Matt Standen was unlucky to be denied an almost certain goal just past the half-hour mark, though. A Lewis Endacott free kick from deep was cleared only as far as the right side of the box where Collins fired in a cross towards the waiting Standen. However, with the goal gaping in front of him, a Tring defender somehow managed to get a slight touch on the ball to divert it away from the waiting Crows man.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with neither side creating too many chances.
Endacott went on one of his trademark runs down the right flank and into the box on the hour mark, but instead of pulling the ball back to onrushing teammates, he picked the wrong option and fired an effort that hit the side netting.
Brothers Matt and Martin Standen then combined well with 15 minutes left when the former expertly brought down a long clearance before releasing the overlapping Martin whose shot was blazed wide from 18 yards when he should have done better.
Tring pushed numbers forward in the dying stages in an attempt to take the tie to extra time, but they were met by Royston defenders who won near enough every ball that flew into the box.
The result was put beyond doubt in the 95th minute when Malins rounded off a quick counter attack with a fantastic finish.
Substitute Ricky Young won the ball on the right flank before passing to Ryan Lockett in the middle who released Malins. The left-winger cut inside his marker before hitting a superb dipping shot from 20 yards that flew into the far corner past the rooted goalkeeper.
The final whistle was met by celebration from the Royston players and supporters alike after a deserved cup victory.
Royston Town: Gibson, Endacott, Cain, McGrandles, Bradshaw, Lockett, Edwards (Young 87), Martin Standen, Collins (c), Malins, Matt Standen.