Crows suffer promotion hangover

Aylesbury run out convincing winners on Saturday

Aylesbury United 3

Royston Town 0

SSMFL Premier Division

IT seems the hangovers from the previous weekend’s promotion celebrations lasted a little longer than the usual 24 hours.

Champions Royston were well beaten by Aylesbury and looked a far cry from the team that had won 33 of the previous 40 games in the league – but they can be forgiven because the main objective of promotion had already been signed off.

Having won the title at Oxhey Jets attention is now drawn to two cup finals in the next couple of weeks along with a longer vision of a new league for next season.

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Manager Paul Attfield rotated his large squad with seven changes from the starting line-up from the previous game to give players a chance to stake a claim for cup final places and impress before the conclusion of the season.

As the scoreline suggests the performance was disjointed and lethargic with little to threaten the home goal and enough defensive naivety to gift the home side three goals.

The Crows received a Guard of Honour from the home side who themselves received the March team of the Month award but that was the highlight of Royston’s day as they never imposed their status on the game. The hosts started lively and took a 15th minute lead when a long ball forward looked completely ineffective until goalkeeper Damian Williamson and Jack Friend both left the ball for one another allowing Stacey Field to nip in and accept the gift with aplomb.

Rhys Lawrence and Ricky Young both fired over the bar and Ryan Redford headed a cross straight at the ‘keeper before United extended their lead on 23 minutes. Another defensive mess allowed an unchallenged right-wing cross to float into the middle where Field was allowed to run between static defenders to nod simply past Williamson from six yards.

Lawrence was replaced by Luke Robins just before half-time in a period where Aylesbury twice went close with an angled half-volley striking the crossbar and another goalbound drive blocked by Jack Bradshaw.

Royston returned with greater urgency in the second half but too often gave up possession on an increasingly difficult surface made harder by the down-pour during the interval. United continued to look the more likely and so it proved midway through the half when Field raced onto a header from a goal kick and crossed for Melford Simpson who was probably embarrassed with the space he had to place a header into the corner of the net from eight yards.

Ryan Lockett had Royston’s only effort on target from a 20-yard free-kick that stung the keeper’s hands with Carl Edwards having the best other chances shooting just over and wide respectively.

Overall a best forgotten game from Royston’s point of view and with much still to play for this season better showings than this will be needed if they want to win any more silverware.

Royston Town: Williamson, Endacott, Grinham, Bradshaw, Friend, Martin Standen, Edwards, Malins (Matt Standen), Redford (Lockett), Young, Lawrence (Robins).