Home debutant inspires Royston Town to late Southern League Division One Central victory

John Frendo.

John Frendo. - Credit: Archant

Two late Rod Orlando-Young goals helped Royston Town beat Ashford Town (Middlesex) 5-3 at Garden Walk on Saturday to keep them joint top of Southern League Division One Central with Farnborough.

There was an FA Trophy hangover following last Tuesday’s defeat to Dulwich Hamlet as the Crows started both halves sluggishly.

Despite creating half chances early on, the unconverted openings were punished with the Tangerines taking an seventh-minute lead.

Sloppy defending allowed Mark Bitmead to shoot low and past stand-in keeper Haydn Dodge.

Orlando-Young, making his home debut, impressed from the start and his tight control, running and delivery was causing the visitors increasing problems.

In the 22nd minute Gus Scott-Morriss sent over a good corner and skipper Scott Bridges rose to power home a header.

From this equaliser, it was all Royston until the half-time break and the hosts’ impressive forward momentum had returned.

Most Read

A couple of half chances for Orlando-Young and Ryan Ingrey culminated in a second goal, this time from John Frendo, on 32 minutes. Orlando-Young found him with a hanging cross and Frendo controlled the ball on his chest, brought it down and slotted home.

Ten minutes later, after a big handball shout from the Royston players in the box, the referee waved play on and the ball fell perfectly for Frendo to score.

Royston were dominant and the crowd believed that more goals would come in the second half.

Ashford had other ideas and set about pulling the game back.

Three minutes in and Adam Murray clumsily fouled in the box and a penalty was awarded.

However, the spot-kick was saved easily by the diving Dodge.

An early second-half substitution saw Scott-Morriss replaced by Martel Powell with Ryan Towner slotting in at right-back.

The visitors were enjoying a good spell and the Crows had no answers.

Joe Green got Ashford’s second, following in a Bitmead free-kick on the hour mark and the same player brought the scores level on 81 minutes.

Royston were under the cosh with Brathwaite making a brave block and Dodge doing well to save sharply and deny what would have been a Tangerines winner.

Cue Orlando-Young to steal the show for Royston with a brilliant finish.

Cutting in from the right he struck a perfect 20-yard shot into the top corner giving Ashford’s keeper Kavanagh Keadell no chance.

The home side finished them off with a breakaway goal on 93 minutes.

Ingrey unselfishly drew the keeper out and passed sideways to Orlando-Young who slammed in his second.

Town travel to second-bottom Histon on Boxing Day.