Easley frustrated after wasted 200-mile trip

Caretaker manager talks about last weekend and looks forward to Saturday’s clash with leaders Guildford City

FOOTBALL can certainly be frustrating on occasions, writes Liam Osborne.

Controversial refereeing decisions, diving, injuries and embarrassing defeats are just some examples of why we often love to hate the sport so many of us love to bits. But Royston Town’s experience during Saturday’s away trip to Rugby Town takes some beating.

With the clock showing 75 minutes played, and with the Crows leading 1-0 thanks to Ryan Lockett’s 53rd-minute strike, a partial floodlight failure brought proceedings to a halt. It wasn’t a case of some floodlights going off completely, but rather only a couple of bulbs on each – meaning the whole of the pitch was still viewable.

However, the match official deemed conditions contrary to the health and safety of the players and called for the match to be abandoned. In other words – a 200-mile trip wasted for the Crows, who will make the journey again on Tuesday, December 11.

And, curiously, this wasn’t the first time this had happened to Rugby as their floodlights also failed last month when they trailed by the same score to Leamington in a League Cup match. Rugby manager Dave Stringer admitted it has become a bit of an embarrassment for the Midlands outfit.

He said: “Western Electric have come in and stated the problem was not within our Butlin Road ground but elsewhere and that it has now been fixed. No doubt the league will be looking at the situation but hopefully that’s the last time for a long while that the lights fail.

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“On Saturday I thought Royston were the best team we had played in the league this season. I can see why they are top of the table [before the weekend]. We struggled against Royston and I could not see us getting anything out of the game.”

Crows caretaker manager Duncan Easley, left, admitted he was disappointed the match couldn’t carry on for the full 90 minutes, as he felt visibility was still adequate.

“Only half of the lights went out on each floodlight, so it wasn’t as if one half of the pitch was in darkness. We obviously wanted to carry on as we wanted to win the game but the referee wouldn’t entertain the idea, and Rugby just said they would go along with the referee’s decision,” Easley told the Royston Crow.

“I’ve definitely played in worse conditions during my time, but the downside is the match is now void and we all have to make another 200-mile round-trip next month.

“The first 25 minutes of the match I thought we were excellent – the best we’ve played all season. We scored the goal at the start of the second half and unless we made a mistake I couldn’t see us conceding.

“But to be fair at 1-0 anything can happen, so I can see the argument to play the match from Rugby’s viewpoint – but I still feel the game should have carried on.”

Royston welcome leaders Guildford City to Garden Walk on Saturday, and Easley is looking forward to facing a side that has enjoyed similar success to the Crows.

“They came up from Step 5 last season like us, and they have adapted well like us, so it will be a tough game,” he said. “But we are on a run of six straight wins, so confidence is high.”