Royston continue to hold iron grip on last play-off place
- Credit: Archant
While promotion rivals continue to falter, Royston Town look set to claim an end-of-season play-off place after a gritty 2-0 win and clean sheet at Marlow on Saturday.
With Rugby Town, Aylesbury and Hanwell Town all failing to take maximum points from their weekend clashes, the Crows took full advantage thanks to Kaan Fehmi’s effort and an own goal at mid-table Marlow.
The Crows dominated the first half with solid defensive work and invigorating attacking movement.
They should probably have had more than a two-goal lead at the interval, but Steve Castle must have been pleased with the shape and approach of his starting line up selection.
It was as early as the fourth minute when the Crows took the lead, with the marauding Ryan Ingrey perplexing his marker and delivering a low right wing cross for skipper Fehmi to slide in and finish low and hard.
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It was more explosive work from Ingrey that forced Royston’s second goal on 19 minutes.
This time his probing right foot cross forced Marlow defender Dan Bailey to volley into his own net, with Fehmi lurking.
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With Chris Watters and Ryan Wharton linking up with the attacks from full-back positions, it looked like Royston would add to the goal tally. However, a combination of frantic Marlow defending and non-descript finishing saw the scoreline unchanged at half-time.
It was a muddled second 45 minutes with Royston constantly trying to recapture their previous flowing rhythm but at all junctures their movement and flow was fractured.
Not for the first time in recent games, Fehmi was removed from the fray for visible indiscipline, giving Reece Dobson another chance to shine off the bench.
Royston knew the points were assured so Billy Baird, promoted from the reserve team, was given a run-out at left-back replacing the injured Gary Hart.
That substitution did not derail the defensive cohesion that had been established throughout the match, giving Ron Yates good protection for a fourth successive clean sheet.
Play-off rivals Hanwell Town lie in wait this Saturday as the Crows continue to stake their claim for their highest ever football pyramid finish and a possible tilt at the play-off lottery, with seven games remaining.