Lacklustre Crows fail to get back on track

Royston held to draw by Ashford Town

Ashford Town 1

Royston Town 1

Evo-Stik Southern Central Division

CHRISTMAS came early for Ashford Town this year, after Royston wrapped up and put a ribbon on top of a precious league point and meekly handed it over on Saturday.

In a lacklustre and totally forgettable performance the Crows squandered the opportunity to get back on track following Tuesday’s defeat against Rugby Town.

Royston were noticeably below par but still had most of the play in the first half, creating good chances on goal with clever inter-play and high-paced passing and movement, but in front of goal they were decidedly sub-standard.

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Ryan Lockett and Luke Robins once again started well and Robins had two decent efforts blocked and Ross Collins saw his 20-yard effort go over and a good move involving Lockett and Tom Malins up the right saw the winger’s cross nearly find Collins in the middle.

The Crows’ best chance of the half came in the 27th minute when Jack Bradshaw linked up with Robins and his powerful shot saw the home keeper dive full length and parry it left and Malins followed up but the angle was too tight.

If possession and chances won games Royston would have been well ahead – but it’s goals that count and the Crows just could not get the ball in the net.

To rub salt in the wounds Ashford scored on 40 minutes with their only real shot on goal. An unfortunate slip at left back allowed the home team winger to cut in and his low driven cross found striker Kofi Lockhart-Adams who showed Royston how to finish.

To have so much possession and pressure on the Ashford goal, but to be behind must have left caretaker manager Duncan Easley wondering what he had to do to get more from his under performing side.

The pattern of the visitor’s game continued with poor final delivery and breakdown of play when not really under pressure. A glimmer of hope came on 57 minutes when Ashford’s hard working but creaking defence committed a foul on the edge of the box and big central defender Joe DeLaSalle stepped up to power a fine effort low that stung the keeper’s hands but bounced out for Lockett to follow up and tap home to level the scores.

In a positive move Easley introduced Kaan Fehmi for Ryan Ingrey on the hour and Ashford started to defend deeper and continued to make errors and commit fouls giving Royston more chances, but the real lack of penetration continued.

Malins was playing well on the right wing and two good runs and crosses firstly saw Fehmi slow to pull the trigger and secondly saw Robins volley over when a goal beckoned.

The game meandered to a finish with the home side more than happy with a point and Royston losing their way completely giving Ashford sloppy opportunities to claim all three points. With 10 minutes to go Easley took Malins off and replaced him with Matt Standen and despite Fehmi hitting the post in the last minute following a more direct run on goal this disappointing, but definitely winnable, match finished level.

Royston Town: Norris, Parr, Bradshaw, McDevitt, DeLaSalle, Spencer, Collins (c), Malins (Standen 80), Ingrey (Fehmi 59), Lockett, Robins.

Sub not used: Endacott, Edwards.

Man of the Match: Tom Malins

Attendance: 85