Hat-trick hero Tibbals is Crows’ star turn
Royston Town 3 Bedfont 2 SEVEN months ago Graham Tibbals was taking to the field with Braughing Rovers – on Saturday he fired Royston Town into the first round of the FA Vase. And what a way it was to celebrate his first hat-trick for the club, losing
Royston Town 3 Bedfont 2
SEVEN months ago Graham Tibbals was taking to the field with Braughing Rovers - on Saturday he fired Royston Town into the first round of the FA Vase.
And what a way it was to celebrate his first hat-trick for the club, losing his marker and volleying home an 89th minute winner.
The 21-year-old said afterwards: "I'm well chuffed and it was a goal that came out of nowhere.
"I didn't have much time to think about it and just tucked it away.
"That was my first hat-trick for Royston so I'm really pleased. It was a good time to get it!"
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Tibbals, who was brought in by Phil Snowden towards the end of last season, is relishing the challenge, and his pace and tireless running have been giving defenders 90 minute headaches.
He said: "I'm really enjoying playing for Royston. It's a big step for me, but so far it's going well."
Tibbals opened the scoring after 10 minutes, powering past Bedfont's centre-backs and tucking the ball under Dean Banks in the visitors' goal.
It was a lead that really should have been increased, as Lee Rogers, Chris Geldart, and Pete Chappell showered the Bedfont box with deep free-kicks and crosses.
After a number of half chances, Tibbals broke down the right just before half time, with his pass finding Matt Hayden on the edge of the box.
And the young midfielder should have done better with a tame shot only finding the arms of Banks.
A second goal would have killed Bedfont's chances there and then, with the Combined Counties side showing little attacking threat, as Royston's Michael Baker was first to every ball.
However, five minutes into the second half the inevitable struck.
Royston appeared to be still in the changing room, as Bedfont pulled them apart in search of an equaliser.
And much to Phil Snowden's and assistant Rob Henry's frustration it came.
Russell Miner pounced on David Daniels' mistake on the half way line and drilled the ball past a stranded James Scott.
With 15 minutes to go and against the run of play, Tibbals showed the Bedfont defence his heels and broke from the half way line.
With only the keeper to beat, the Royston striker let the ball run, and despite claims for a penalty went down with the ball rolling over the by-line.
But this was a player on form. And minutes later Rogers' clever free-kick found Seb Ndombe at the back post, and when his effort was turned on to the bar it was Tibbals who reacted quickest.
But the lead was short-lived, as Miner took advantage of another bout of sloppy defending to set up a frantic final 10 minutes.
And it was a moment of magic from Ndombe that led to Royston's winner.
Picking the ball up on the left touchline, the powerful striker's nutmeg left Carl McInerney in his wake and he delivered a pinpoint cross into the path of Tibbals.
Losing James White inside the Bedfont box, Tibbals kept his cool with a deft volley that left Banks with no chance and sent his side deservedly into the next round.
Royston chairman Graham Phillips said: "It was a very pleasing win and we're all looking forward to the next round. I think we have every chance of progressing."
And with a striker with a seemingly winning touch, Phil Snowden's team have the credentials. It might not be pretty, but it will certainly be effective.
Royston Town: Scott; Chappell, Geldart, Daniels, Baker (Bloss); Julu, Rogers, Edwards, Hayden (Davenport); Tibbals, Ndombe.
- Royston travel to Arlesey Athletic in the league on Saturday.