Late Malins strike sinks league champions Chalfont

Chalfont St Peter 1-2 Royston Town

Chalfont St Peter 1-2 Royston Town

ROYSTON TOWN made the last of three consecutive long distance away trips to play the newly-crowned Molten Spartan South Midlands Premier league champions Chalfont St Peter on Tuesday night.

The Saints had secured the title and promotion on Saturday with an edgy 0-0 draw against mid-table Stotfold and could relax against the Crows knowing the job was already done. Royston, however, still have second place to play for and Paul Attfield would without doubt fire his players up to finish the season on a high even though second position brings no tangible reward.

The Crows entered the match unbeaten on the road for over three months, undefeated in 10 league games and as the division’s highest goal scorers, looking to reverse the painful 5-0 home thrashing the Saints had dealt out back in September.

This was certainly not an end of season procession – it was a feisty match with both sets of players competitive throughout and both teams demonstrating a will to win.

The first 15 minutes saw Royston trying to create shooting chances with some creative football and with Chalfont sitting back and then trying to catch the Crows with speedy and dangerous break away play.

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Jorden Gibson was called upon to make two good saves in the opening period. Royston lost John McGrandles to an ankle injury on 16 minutes and was replaced by Matt Standen who went up front, with Ricky Young dropping back into midfield and skipper Ross Collins occupying a defensive position.

This enforced change unsettled the visitors and they took 10 minutes to find their feet all the while repelling attacks from Chalfont who could smell blood.

Following some scrambled but effective defending, the Crows eased their way back into the game and created their own chances towards the end of the first period with Young and Paul Klein particularly prominent but the half finished goalless.

The second half started with Royston still on the front foot and building on the re-jigged back line of Lewis Endacott, Danny Apostolos, David Cain and Collins, they created and scored the first goal on 50 minutes. Ryan Lockett controlled the ball brilliantly and found Matt Standen with a good through ball for Standen junior to finish expertly with a cool finish underneath the ‘keeper.

Gibson made another fine save as Chalfont stepped up the pressure looking for the equaliser, which unfortunately for Royston came on 63 minutes when substitute Alan Hedley was allowed too much time to drive through unchallenged from midfield to plant a shot into the Royston net.

Royston responded with improved movement and, despite defending frantically at times to thwart the Chalfont attacks, continued to try to play their own good football.

On 72 minutes Klein was replaced on the left wing by Tommy Malins and the Crows continued to press.

The deserved winner for Royston came on 85 minutes when a superb Endacott cross was met on the run by Malins whose header thudded into the back of the net sending the visitors into raptures.

Overall, this was a good performance from Royston against a strong and dangerous Chalfont side.

Royston Town: Gibson, Endacott, Apostolos, Cain, McGrandles (Matt Standen), Edwards, Collins (c), Young, Klein (Malins), Lockett (Turl), Martin Standen.

Subs not used: Lawrence, Grinham.

Man of the Match: Matt Standen

Attendance: 81