Patient Crows grind out three points

Royston Town 2-0 Stotfold

ROYSTON TOWN produced their third home victory in a week with a patient victory over Stotfold at Garden Walk on Saturday.

A first goal in Royston colours for centre-half John McGrandles along with a stoppage time strike from Tom Malins ensured a first league double for Paul Attfield’s side this season.

The game was rather different from last Saturday’s win over Tring as Stotfold played a very defensive game and for that reason, along with a difficult pitch, it took plenty of endeavour to earn the three points.

The first half was largely uneventful with persistent intervening from the officials stopping any flow to the game and both teams struggled to hold onto the ball long enough to create clear openings.

The pitch made running with the ball near on impossible in certain areas and as a result the match was far from pretty.

Attfield had to make an enforced change in the first two minutes after Lewis Endacott received a rather crude lunging tackle that was deemed fair with the full-back ending up on crutches leaving Tom Whitaker to make an early entry.

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Stotfold offered little in attack but did create the first clear opening from a set play when Leon Gutzmore got behind Royston’s defence only to head over from a good position.

A couple of other half chances missed the target and that was as good as it got for the visitors as they spent much of the game defending and making it as difficult as possible for Royston.

Ashley Grinham was the main source of Royston’s creativity in the first half with a number of his long throws causing problems but the home side failed to capitalise.

Royston’s first real chance of the match came in the 40th minute when a well struck Ryan Lockett half volley was turned over the bar by the ‘keeper and this set up five minutes of intense pressure that could have seen the home side take the lead.

Lockett was denied by a last-ditch tackle after he created a shooting opportunity and just before half time the same player had a good chance from another long throw that was blocked on the line and Ross Collins followed up with an angled drive that hit the inside of the post before being scrambled clear.

Royston played with more intensity in the second half and for the most part dominated territorially. Still finding it hard to create clear chances, they kept applying pressure and it seemed only a matter of time before the goal arrived.

Malins had the best opportunity to break the deadlock when he latched onto Lockett’s through ball only to see his attempted lob blocked by the keeper’s outstretched arm.

The breakthrough finally arrived 20 minutes from time when a Lockett corner was met by the head of McGrandles who powerfully headed home from eight yards.

This opened the game up which was more beneficial to Royston and the win was completed in the last minute when Malins broke a fragile offside trap to advance on goal and fire a shot inside the ‘keeper’s near post.

Overall this was not Royston’s best show of the season but a spirited, battling performance where two moments of quality proved the difference deservedly gave them the three points.

Royston Town: Gibson, Endacott (Whitaker), Grinham, McGrandles, Cain, Martin Standen, Edwards, Collins (Brinkman), Dance (Young), Lockett, Malins.

Not Used: McElvoy, Lamacraft.

Attendance: 208