Defensive mistakes cost Crows
Royston Town 3 Holmer Green 4
This was a day to forget for Royston as a series of defensive blunders gifted Holmer Green the three points.
Paul Attfield had selection problems with captain Ross Collins and the influential Martin Standen starting the first of their three-match bans while three other players were carrying injuries. A difficult playing surface that had survived a late morning pitch inspection made any attractive football near on impossible for both sides.
Despite these problems no one would have predicted the pushing of the self destruct button with the team going into the game with three consecutive league clean sheets under their belts.
Royston started well and from the off both Ashley Grinham and George Brinkman went close before a seventh minute opening goal materialised. Grinham’s long throw was flicked on by Brinkman and Carl Edwards raced clear to fire past the ‘keeper.
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The lead, however, was short lived. Holmer’s first attack three minutes later won them a corner. The simple delivery should have been dealt with but Boateng was gifted a free header within the six yard box to level proceedings.
Despite the setback Royston continued to press with Brinkman hitting the outside of the post with a header and John McGrandles having a header cleared off the line.
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Tom Malins had a good chance when he raced into the box but angled his shot wide of the post before Holmer were gifted another goal with only their second chance.
Grinham was dispossessed while hesitating on the ball in defence and although a forward had his shot blocked by Gibson, Boateng was quickest to follow up and convert into an empty net.
The game followed a similar pattern as Royston still piled on pressure and were level just two minutes later with this time Glen Lamacraft dispossessing a defender and racing into the area to square for George Brinkman to score from six yards.
Unbelievably there was still time for another visiting goal and this time it came from a Royston corner. A half clearance was seized upon outside their own area and a clinical break way left the home side outnumbered and the overlapping Shed crashed home a 16-yard drive high into the net.
The deficit was self-inflicted but their was enough in attack to encourage the home side but a more determined Holmer Green returned intent on keeping their lead.
Little happened until Holmer’s scoring was completed on 60 minutes when Lewis Endacott’s back pass was seized by Puttnam who reacted quickest to round Gibson and score.
This inspired a change in both personnel and formation with Ricky Young and Lee Bates entering for the injured Tom Whitaker and George Brinkman. Young injected some enthusiasm down the left and his persistency and excellent cross set up David Cain to loop in a header to reduce the arrears with 20 minutes remaining.
Royston pressed hard with Edwars bringing a fine save from the ‘keeper from 20 yards and Malins hit a post with a firm strike.
At the back the home side left themselves open as they committed bodies forward and Holmer had opportunities to kill off the game without testing Gibson but it always looked as though it would be one of those days for the Crows and so it proved
Royston Town: Gibson, Whitaker (Bates), Grinham (Endacott), McGrandles, Cain, Lamacraft, Edwards, Dance, Brinkman (Young), Lockett, Malins.
Unused: Debnam, Howard.