Royston Town U18s beaten but not disgraced by Arsenal U18s in FA Youth Cup showdown

Royston celebrate

Royston celebrate - Credit: Archant

It was not the procession many had predicted but in the end it was the result, although Arsenal U18s were made to work for their narrow 2-1 win over Royston Town U18s in the FA Youth Cup fourth round at Borehamwood on Wednesday night.

It could have been a different story had two-goal hero Stephy Mavididi’s first-minute strike been six inches to the left. Instead it struck the base of the post and flew wide.

Moments later there was delirium from the travelling masses as the Crows took a shock lead.

Reece King’s eye-of-a-needle through-ball found Joe Grossi on the run and he slid the ball beyond Ryan Huddart. Royston were in dreamland and for the following 35 minutes they were good value for their advantage.

That was until Mavididi showed some non-league grit to shrug off his man and place the ball past the outstanding Ben Watson to equalise.

The seven-time winners could smell blood and within six minutes, they had forged a lead.

Connor Kilgallon’s rushed clearance was charged down by Mavididi and he identically finished with the aplomb of minutes before.

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The Gunners were certainly not firing on all cyclinders but that was in the most part down to the courageous Crows.

Midfielder Daniel Crowley almost gave the hosts breathing space a minute after half-time but his swerving free-kick went just over.

Royston’s counter-attacking qualities were to be their main salvation as they pressed for an equaliser, but they could not prise open the door and grab the extra-time their efforts deserved.

Nevertheless, a heart-warming night for the Crows and fans of the FA Youth Cup.

For a full match report and reaction to the game, check out next Thursday’s Royston Crow.