Late penalty denies Crows deserved FA Vase win

Royston Town 2 (Lamacraft 14, Brinkman 30) Leiston 2 (Brothers 5, Head 86)

ROYSTON TOWN will travel to Leiston tomorrow night in a bid to make it through to the third round of the FA Vase at the second attempt.

The Crows will feel disappointed not to have beaten the Suffolk side on Saturday after putting in an impressive display in front of nearly 200 spectators at Garden Walk.

After falling behind to an early goal against the Blues, it looked like Paul Attfield’s team were in for a long afternoon. However, the Crows went on to dominate large periods of the tie after Glen Lamacraft and George Brinkman strikes had put them on the verge of a terrific victory.

And when the visitors were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half there seemed no way back for Leiston until Lewis Endacott gave away an 86th minute penalty which was duly converted to ensure the teams will meet again under the lights at Victory Road.

Royston were eager to bounce back from their Herts Senior Cup defeat to St Margaretsbury four days previously but they looked nervous in the opening stages here as pass after pass went astray as the visitors looked to take the initiative.

And it took only five minutes for them to do so when Crows goalkeeper Lee Robinson’s punch from a long throw into the box only went as far as the unmarked Michael Brothers who found the top corner from 15 yards.

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It was the worst possible start for Royston against a side that had pace and power in abundance but they managed to level the scores 10 minutes later when Lamacraft bundled home a rebound following Brinkman’s stab at goal after Endacott’s long throw into the box.

Royston looked a much more settled team for the remainder of the half as they began to defend from the front and didn’t allow the Leiston defenders any time on the ball.

Brinkman gave Royston the lead on the half hour mark which was no less than they deserved following a sustained period of pressure on the visitors’ goal.

Stand-in left back Ross Collins cut inside from the left and found Lamacraft who teed up Josh Bronti who tried his luck from 25 yards. His shot was deflected into the path of Brinkman who controlled the ball brilliantly on his chest before swivelling and volleying into the far bottom corner to send his team into the break with the upper hand.

The Crows started the second half far brighter than they had the first and displayed much greater energy and creativity all over the pitch.

They should have extended their lead when substitute Arron Welch released Bronti through on goal with a great pass only for the winger to fire his shot into the side netting.

Royston thought they had been awarded a penalty on the hour-mark when centre-half Liam McDevitt appeared to be pushed following a Luke Robins free kick. However, despite the referee blowing his whistle and pointing to the spot – it became apparent the linesman had already raised his flag for offside and no spot-kick was given.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men minutes later when Gareth Heath was shown a straight red for what appeared to be offensive language towards the referee.

Brinkman had a glorious opportunity to put the game beyond doubt with just under 20 minutes remaining after being sent clean through on goal by Bronti. However the striker dallied inside the area before being tackled when he should have got a shot away.

And they were made to pay with just four minutes remaining when Endacott brought down Brothers inside the box after the Crows had given away possession cheaply on the halfway line.

David Head stepped up to send the ball into the bottom right-hand corner giving Robinson no chance and taking the game into extra time.

Extra time yielded no real chances for either side to put their name in the hat for the third round and both teams will have to go again for at least 90 minutes tomorrow night.

It was a disappointing end to a match that Royston should have won but Attfield and the players will take heart for producing a much improved display from previous outings.

Royston Town: Robinson, Endacott, McElvoy, McDevitt, Collins, Bronti (Malins 75), Lamacraft (Welch 45), Edwards, Robins, Brinkman (Lockett 90), Dance.

Attendance: 196