‘Flexible’ Crows too strong for Hadley

Attfield pleased with how players coped with reshuffle following McDevitt sending off at Hadley

CROWS boss Paul Attfield was a pleased man after watching his team grind out their fourth straight league win on Tuesday night.

Despite being reduced to 10 men towards the end of the first half, Attfield says his team thoroughly deserved the three points after outplaying their opponents for the majority of the match.

“I thought we deserved it in the end,” he said.

“The sending off kicked us into life and it was a bit flat up until then. The sending off was a poor decision from the referee and I didn’t even think it was a free kick. I think he bowed to the pressure of their players who were shouting at him and the linesman even said to me he didn’t think it was a free kick.

“We didn’t have to change our shape much and we just had to move people around. Up until the last 15 minutes we controlled the game with 10 men on the pitch and we always looked like we were going to create chances which we did and we defended really well for our lives near the end.”

Attfield was especially pleased with how his players coped with having to play in different positions following McDevitt’s sending off and Ashley Grinham going off injured.

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“A lot of the players we’ve got are capable of playing in two or three positions so we know we’ve always got that flexibility with the players on the pitch,” he added.

“I’ve got confidence with Tommy dropping to right back, Ryan coming out to right midfield and Endo moving inside so it wasn’t a problem. It was just making sure that we got the shape of the team right to cope with what Hadley were doing.

“But, in the last 15 minutes it didn’t really matter what shape they had because they just bombed four or five players on and you’ve got to deal with long balls into the box towards their big striker and that’s difficult to defend.

“There were a couple of scrambles and we were throwing bodies in the way but you’ve got to do that with 10 men on the pitch. So, just for that work rate, I think we probably deserved the win.”

Hadley threw numbers forward late on in search of an equaliser but the shrewd introduction on wingers Josh Bronti and Ricky Young with 10 minutes to go gave the Crows an outlet to catch the hosts cold on the counter-attack – which is exactly what they did when Young’s surge down the right with minutes remaining led to what proved to be the winning goal.

“They always looked like they were going to score and you’ve always got to keep on trying to score and its no good just sitting back and trying to defend the lead because you’re asking for trouble,” he said.

“Hadley had two wins in two games and they had only had one defeat all season. “We’ve shown we are capable of grinding out a result and we’ve had a couple of one-nils recently and tonight wasn’t always pretty but if you’re going to do well in the league you’ve got to get half a dozen results like that over the course of the season.”

Royston now look forward to Saturday’s match against Dunstable at Garden Walk.

The Blues currently sit mid-table but have played a few games less than most of the teams above them, so their position is perhaps a bit misleading.

Royston will be without the suspended McDevitt while Grinham (dead leg) may also be forced to miss out. A win for Royston could see them move into second place should Tring fail to win at Kingsbury.