Play-offs the minimum for Castle as Crows continue to impress in pre-season

New Royston signing Jay Rolfe battles with Quentin Monville of Potters Bar Town.

New Royston signing Jay Rolfe battles with Quentin Monville of Potters Bar Town. - Credit: NEIL METCALFE

Royston Town added another W to the list in pre-season with victory over Potters Bar Town - and manager Steve Castle believes it is the most important of the lot.

The Crows had already registered five victories but the 1-0 success at Garden Walk, courtesy of a first-half Matt Bateman strike, was the first contest a side of at least a comparable level.

And that is what made the difference to the boss.

Castle said: "Potters Bar ere the same level so it gives us a yardstick. 

"It wasn’t a great game but it gets a little disjointed when everyone’s making changes and bringing on trialists but it was another positive step without getting too carried away. 

"We’ve played a few sides who are in step four and we’ve been expected to beat them convincingly, and we have. 

"That’s pleasing and we’ve nicked one there against a strong Potters Bar who are going to be contenders in their own league. 

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"We’re reasonably happy." 

Jay Rolfe, Ed Asafu-Adjoye and Ronnie Henry of Royston Town.

Jay Rolfe, Ed Asafu-Adjoye and Ronnie Henry of Royston Town. - Credit: NEIL METCALFE

It was also the first home game of pre-season and the first chance for many of the Crows fans to catch sight of new signings George Ironton and Jay Rolfe.

And the pair, both signed from Welwyn Garden City, have slotted in seamlessly to the existing squad according to Castle.

He said: "They are superb lads who are getting on with the squad. They were recommended and the view was that they were both step three footballers and we’ve given them the platform to prove that. 

"I’m pleased with all the lads coming in and all the lads who have come back so there aren’t too many complaints. 

"We have missed out on a couple of targets but there are still lads we are looking at thoroughly." 

Carl Mensah and Matt Bateman of Royston Town.

Carl Mensah and Matt Bateman of Royston Town. - Credit: NEIL METCALFE

And the boss believes the squad now assembled is more than capable of surpassing last year's eighth-placed finish and reaching the upper reaches of the Southern League Premier Division Central, with play-offs the absolute minimum he will accept.

"At the very least," he stressed with steely determination. "With the group we have here, we had some disappointing results here last year. 

"We won’t lay any blame elsewhere, we didn’t do well enough, but there is a belief in this squad that we can have a strong competitive season."