FA Vase dream ended by Bournemouth

Crows come up short on the south coast

Bournemouth 2

Royston Town 1

FA Vase fourth round

THE CROWS’ FA Vase campaign came to a disappointing end on Saturday as they bowed out to 10-man Bournemouth.

Royston were behind after just five minutes after goalkeeper Will Norris had conceded a penalty allowing Dave Ewan to score from the spot. One became two on 20 minutes during a first half in which the visitors struggled to contend with the boggy pitch and playing into the driving wind.

The Poppies were reduced to 10 men on 36 minutes, and despite a second-half onslaught from the Crows, and a goal from Ricky Young on 65 minutes, Paul Attfield’s side just couldn’t find an equaliser and in the end Bournemouth held out to secure their place in the last 16 of the competition.

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The interest shown in the club development at the moment saw well over 100 spectators making the journey to the south coast, making up over half of the total support for the match.

The team, management and some support travelled down on the Friday evening in preparation for the game but come Saturday afternoon it was clear the strong windy conditions and quite appalling playing surface would not encourage any entertaining football and this was to be the case. The home side, currently ninth in their domestic Wessex County League division, showed why they had been unbeaten at home in eight various cup matches before this fixture with a much more confident approach to the conditions and Attfield’s side struggled to do likewise.

Royston elected to shoot into the wind in the first half and the first 30 minutes proved to be the most crucial part of the game as they struggled to get out of their own half. Hesitation in the defence resulted in Norris giving away a penalty which Ewan converted to give the visitors an uphill battle so early on.

A reaction was needed but not forthcoming and some desperate and sometimes unorthodox defending kept the home side at bay until the 20th minute. A rare forage forward saw cheap possession given away and the normally reliable back-line was left embarrassingly exposed as one ball forward left Hogan in the clear with an eternity to line up a shot and toe punt past Norris into the net from 16 yards.

Very slowly Royston did start keeping the ball for longer periods but still the hosts looked dangerous on the break Chances were hard to create but Matt Standen did have the best on 32 minutes when he broke clear of the defence but the ball bobbled up and his shot went weakly off target. John McGrandles then had a six yard header from a free-kick saved but that was as good as it got for Royston who got a helping hand from the referee when he harshly sent off Bournemouth midfielder Jon Byrne for a second bookable offence in the 36th minute.

A change of personnel and formation saw Ryan Lockett replaced by Ash Grinham and Luke Robins was pushed on in a more familiar left-wing roll from left-back and Royston began to dominate territorially.

However the visitors found it difficult to penetrate Bournemouth’s back-line with the home side determined to pack the defensive third with no need to add to their two-goal cushion.

The home ‘keeper remained underworked but the introduction of Young on 65 minutes provided instant reward. Matt Standen chased what seemed to be a lost cause into the area and slight hesitation in the home defence allowed him to pull the ball back for Young to convert from eight yards with his first touch.

Royston continued to dominate but still struggled to create clear-cut openings and in the end they had to settle for defeat.

Royston Town: Norris, Endacott, Robins, McGrandles, Beck (Young), Martin Standen, Edwards, Malins (Lawrence), Fehmi, Matt Standen, Lockett (Grinham).