Royston's unbeaten run stretches to 14 games
Royston Town 2 Crawley Green 0 ROYSTON Town finished 2008 on a high by stretching their unbeaten run in Division One to 14 games. Goals in either half from Craig Hammond and Ryan Lockett and yet another clean sheet – their sixth in their least eight leagu
Royston Town 2 Crawley Green 0
ROYSTON Town finished 2008 on a high by stretching their unbeaten run in Division One to 14 games.
Goals in either half from Craig Hammond and Ryan Lockett and yet another clean sheet - their sixth in their least eight league games - gave the Crows a much-deserved three points at Garden Walk.
Boss Paul Attfield made two changes from the side which beat Buckingham Athletic last week, bringing in Ryan Lockett and Jamie Babbage for Michael Debnam and Jamie Morriss, and although the average age of his team was just 20 years old, the Crows were more than a match against a physical Crawley Green side.
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The visitors did begin the game the better of the two teams, however, and in the first five minutes had two good chances on goal.
The first was a Liam Duggan point blank header which was stopped by teenage keeper Jordan Gibson in the Royston Town goal and the second was hit just wide by Crawley's Warren Plowright after he found himself free in the box.
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Royston created few good chances of their own early on and were grateful for some good defending, including last-ditch tackles by the superb Jamie Babbage and Lewis Endacott, to keep the scores even, but they did go ahead just after the half hour mark.
A long ball was hit hopefully down the middle for Ryan Lockett, flanked by two defenders, to run on to but before he could get to the ball the Crawley keeper ran out of the box and handled it 20 yards from goal.
The referee blew for a free kick, but surprisingly issued no cards, and from the resulting set piece Lockett tapped a short pass to Hammond who hit a blistering shot into the top left hand corner to make it 1-0.
It was a lead which never looked like being pulled back, but Royston were in danger of losing a man with just seconds of the half remaining when, after a crunching tackle, Crawley's captain Peter O'Donnell lay on the floor with the ball between his legs and David Cain ran over and booted it full pelt.
The referee issued a yellow card to Cain, which was a fair decision, but on another day it could easily have been a red.
As with the first half, Crawley had the better of the early chances in the second and on 46 minutes hit a shot just over the bar.
Royston then spurned good chances themselves when in the space of two minutes Hammond had a decent header saved on the line and hit an eight-yard shot just wide.
TheCrows continued to dominate the second half and Hammond had another good chance to double his team's lead on 63 minutes, but after some good play on the left by Tom Malins and Greg Jackson, Hammond's header was smothered on the line by the keeper.
But six minutes later it was all over.
As with Royston's first goal, their second came from a 20-yard free kick but unlike the first, when Lockett passed to Hammond to strike home, this time Hammond returned the favour and Lockett hit a low drive into the back of the net.
Despite Royston's pressure on the Crawley goal the Crows were unable to improve their lead.
There was one final talking point; with just minutes remaining Royston's Greg Jackson was fouled by Crawley's O'Donnell but the referee booked the wrong player, handing a yellow card to Phil Cusack instead, much to the disbelief of everyone in the ground.
The Crows enter 2009 first in Division One, three points ahead of Kings Langley - who won 3-1 today (Saturday) against Stony Stratford - with two games in hand.
Royston: Gibson, Endacott, Apostolos, Babbage, Cain, Welch, Edwards, Bronti, Hammond, Lockett, Malins. Subs: Morriss, Debnam, Young, Jackson, Stephens.