Come-from-behind Kempston Rovers win displays Royston Town's full resolve
PUBLISHED: 17:23 06 December 2016 | UPDATED: 17:23 06 December 2016
At the end of the Southern League Division One Central season should Royston Town achieve their promotion ambition they may reflect on this come-from-behind 2-1 win at third-placed Kempston Rovers as a pivotal moment.
Defenders Dan Braithwaite and Adam Murray supplied the second-half strikes to see Royston go four points clear at the top of the table.
The vocal, but good natured, home crowd enjoyed the first half much more than the Royston contingent as the Crows knocked on the door of the Kempston resolve more than once - but were visibly lacking in composure and noticeably devoid of the cutting edge that recently has been apparent across the frontline.
The lively Josh Castiglione had four good chances in the first 20 minutes to score, seeing two effort blasted over, one fluffed effort and a good on-target effort well saved by Kempston’s diminutive keeper Martin Conway.
It was however the home side who seized the initiative in the ninth minute.
Profiting from a poor Royston free-kick Rovers sprung a swift breakaway that saw the Crows exposed and they failed to recover before a shot from league top scorer Danny Watson was half stopped. However, the ball fell nicely to Dom Marsala who completed the move.
The one bright spot of the first half was Ryan Ingrey who was working hard.
In the 21st minute Ingrey’s power created a surging run inside the box and his low cross into the six-yard box just needed a touch from someone to convert but sped through without connection.
It was only the home side who were going to increase their lead in the latter minutes of the first half.
On 37 minutes the recently prolific Watson spurned a great chance to double his team’s lead rushing his close-range shot and scooping it high and over.
Following more Kempston pressure in the 45th minute Ryan Frater made an important block which was then followed immediately by an alert and vital save from Haydn Dodge.
A half-time substitution saw Ryan Towner leave the pitch and Spyros Mentis came on.
It was clear that the Crows were revved up from the half-time regroup and they started with a momentum that was lacking in the first half.
Castle made another change 10 minutes in and brought debutant Rod Orlando-Young on for Castiglione.
Orlando-Young’s introduction had a two-fold effect, firstly revitalising the right-wing outlet and secondly demonstrating a new weapon in the form of a dangerous long throw.
This increase of delivery must have prompted Castle’s third change when on 66 minutes Martel Powell departed the field and Murray was thrown into the fray adding more height and power to the frontline.
A minute later and the scores were equal.
An improved and probing free-kick in by Danny May found an unmarked Brathwaite and he planted a good header into the net.
It was all Crows now as they pushed for the winner and Scott Bridges had a good chance as he connected well, but too high, to another Orlando-Young cross.
The deciding goal did come on 81 minutes as the overloaded defence had no answer to the row of big men up for a May corner and this time Murray got good connection.
The defender’s challenge forced the ball to loop up and over the crowd of defenders and the stranded Conway.