Royston draw 3-3 in first pre-season friendly

ROYSTON Town began their pre-season schedule with an entertaining draw away at Essex side Barkingside on Saturday.

Manager Paul Attfield took the opportunity to give starts to several new faces and there were debuts for centre-half and former Stevenage Borough, Hitchin Town and Canvey Island player Liam McDevitt, goalkeeper Luke Howard, former Histon academy and reserve team player Tom Whitaker and former Hitchin Town and Stotfold forward George Brinkman.

On a small, bobbly pitch the pace of the game was pretty electrifying from two talented sides but it was Royston who took the lead as early as the 11th minute when

neat build up play involving Tom Whitaker, Carl Edwards and Josh Bronti presented a chance for George Brinkman who scored his first goal for the club with a crisp 12-yard finish.

Pressure continued with another Brinkman header just clearing the bar and a trio of goal-bound efforts were also blocked.

The hosts looked dangerous on the break and from one such occasion Gibson produced a good save to keep the lead in tact.

Royston doubled their lead in the 36th minute when a Ryan Lockett 25-yard free kick was deflected by a defender past the wrong-footed ‘keeper.

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Within seconds the hosts halved the deficit by a more than baffling penalty decision with the referee seemingly being the only person who knew what the offence was. Jorden Gibson was beaten from the resulting spot-kick.

With the hot conditions always likely to take its toll, the greater squad size of the hosts, who changed their whole side around, was an obvious advantage as the game progressed.

Royston’s intensity understandably dropped a notch as the hosts looked to find an equaliser.

They did equalise with half-an-hour remaining when a half cleared cross was riffled past Howard from 20 yards and five minutes later Barkinside took the lead when a mistake in midfield allowed a simple scoring opportunity that was duly taken.

Royston never gave up, though, and took a decent result from their first outing when with six minutes remaining a long free kick from McDevitt was spilled by the ‘keeper under pressure from Brinkman and the striker reacted quickest to bicycle kick the loose ball into the net from 10 yards.

Royston Town: Gibson, Apostolos, Grinham, Whitaker, Cain, Collins, Edwards, Bronti, Brinkman, Lockett, Stephens, McDevitt, Mulvaney, Beaumont, Howard, McGuiness, Crosk.