Robins scores double as Crows win at Hertford

Royston stay top of the league

Hertford Town 1

Royston Town 2

SSMFL Premier Division

ROYSTON Town maintained their place at the top of the league with a hard-fought win at Hertford Town on Saturday.

This was a tough game for the Crows who put in a determined performance against a new-look Hertford side that pushed them all the way to the end. The Blues, who had recent impressive wins at Leverstock Green (5-0) and Haringey Borough (2-1), worked hard throughout and despite playing the last 25 minutes with 10 men due to the sending off of a central midfielder, the numerical advantage hardly looked visible.

Royston themselves played a strong first half in which they possibly could have been winning by a larger margin. Their play was less fluent in the second half despite plenty of hard graft and the failure to get a more comfortable lead secured some nervous moments late on.

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As like most games recently there were selection problems for Paul Attfield with centre-halves John McGrandles and Jason Beck both suspended serving one-game bans while Martin Standen was unavailable. There was a starting place for new signing Jack Friend at centre-half with both Ryan Lockett and Tom Malins returning to the squad from injuries.

The Crows started on top of their game, moving the ball with good pace and quality but the first chance fell to Hertford on five minutes when a long ball fell behind the defence and with Will Norris stranded from goal a forward lobbed wide with the target open.

It was Royston that largely controlled the tempo and territory of the first period with good work from all positions to try and create chances. The reward of an early goal on 17 minutes was merited when good work outside the area from Kaan Fehmi and a ball to Luke Robins saw the winger cut inside the full back and place a shot into the far corner from 14 yards.

Fehmi himself could have increased the lead when he ran onto a through-ball but got too much on his lob and it went well over the crossbar.

Hertford grabbed an equaliser two minutes before half time through Marvin Samuels just after a defensive reshuffle in the visiting back-line, following the loss of Ashley Grinham who suffered an injury.

Fortunately for Royston, they were able to restore the lead within a minute of the restart. Fehmi’s ball in from the left wasn’t cleared and a grateful Robins placed the ball into the corner from close range.

The second half was more even in terms of possession and chances. The Crows continually working hard but lacked the spark on the ball they had shown in the first half.

Hertford could have been level within seconds of the restart when they got behind Royston’s backline and the resulting cross was blocked and scrambled away at the second attempt.

The game had a little scrappy period in which both teams received two cautions and a couple of arguments between players had to be sorted by the referee. However it was a Hertford player that took matters a little too far with another poor tackle that rewarded him a second caution and red card.

Ricky Young replaced Kaan Fehmi midway through the half and both himself and Matt Standen had chances from narrow angles that went wide of the target.

As the half wore on the visitors began to give up possession a little cheaply and some longer balls forward and set-play deliveries caused some late problems. A half cleared free-kick was struck goalwards from 25 yards but turned wide by Norris and another free-kick delivery from half way was somehow allowed to drop just eight yards from goal but Jack Bradshaw reacted quickest to avert the danger and clear.

Despite the urgency of Hertford they were unable to create anything clear cut from open play and the Crows played out to the final whistle without further concerns and another hard-earned three points

Royston Town: Norris, Endacott, Grinham (Lockett), Friend, Bradshaw, Collins, Edwards, Clemo, Fehmi (Young), Matt Standen (Malins), Robins.