Harpy days are here again
ROYSTON TOWN 3 (R Cannon, J McMurrough, J Dobson) HARPENDEN TOWN 1 (C Gregory) THE Crows survived the dismissal of Carlo Silenti to take a giant step towards South Midlands Spartan League safety. Mark Saggers' team appeared to be coasting to a comfortabl
ROYSTON TOWN 3 (R Cannon, J McMurrough, J Dobson) HARPENDEN TOWN 1 (C Gregory) THE Crows survived the dismissal of Carlo Silenti to take a giant step towards South Midlands Spartan League safety. Mark Saggers' team appeared to be coasting to a comfortable victory, then Silenti was sent off for dissent. Although they conceded a goal within a minute of the veteran seeing red, the 10 men held on for their ninth league win of the season. The result leaves them 10 points clear of second-from-bottom Harpenden, with three other clubs between them and the drop zone. It was a result the home side probably deserved, although when they were leading 3-0 the scoreline flattered them. With Barry White still unavailable because of work commitments and reserve Russell Jones still injured, 37-year-old Simon Dobson continued in goal for the home side On a miserable night at Garden Walk in front of the Crows' smallest league crowd of the season, there was little action in either goalmouth during the opening half-hour. The hosts took the lead in the 32nd minute when the ball broke free in midfield, and Joff Dobson provided the perfect pass for Ryan Cannon to run on to and hammer past keeper Howard Fisher. That lead was doubled just before the break when Jez McMurrough latched on to a long ball from midfield and powered down the left before finishing clinically. The visitors started the second half strongly, with Nathan Davies firing over after a good ball from Andy Finlay, but the Crows looked to have wrapped up the victory five minutes after the break when Joff Dobson made it 3-0. A cross-field ball from the impressive Paul Lamont found Dobson, who looked clearly offside a few yards inside the Harpenden half, and he finished his run by slipping the ball under Fisher. Referee Mr Raval had produced an erratic performance all evening, paying only scant regard to his two assistants, and it was his intervention that directly led to Silenti getting his marching orders in the 63rd minute. Silenti was impeded by the referee as he attempted to win the ball in midfield and his tirade at the official earned him a yellow card. However, his unwillingness to let the matter drop saw him, once again, get sent off to leave the Crows facing the final 27 minutes with only 10 men. The gap in the middle of the pitch was cruelly exposed within a minute as the home defence stood motionless, allowing Chris Gregory to run through and fire past Simon Dobson. The Crows switched to a single forward, Joff Dobson being replaced by Dean Jeffries and Mark Williams coming on for McMurrough. Jeffries, playing a lone role up front, took some of the pressure off the Crows defence, as the home side were forced to defend in depth, but Saggers' team held on to edge towards safety. The Crows face two tough games in the space of four days. Leaders Oxford City are the visitors to Garden Walk, on Saturday, before the Crows travel to fifth-placed Hillingdon Borough on Tuesday. Royston: S Dobson, P Lamont, R Cannon, S Nowden, P Flack, C Geldart, L Rogers, M Saunders (J Nash), J Dobson (D Jeffries), C Silenti, J McMurrough (M Williams). Unused sub: P Chappell.