Scrappy Marlow win sees Royston Town maintain lead at summit
- Credit: Archant
Goals from Matt Nolan and Josh Castiglione helped leaders Royston Town to a fifth successive Southern League Division One Central victory, beating third-placed Marlow 2-0 on Saturday.
Steve Castle made one change to the starting line-up with Ryan Frater getting a start in place of Adam Murray.
Nolan’s recent goal tally of eight goals in four games gave him the nod over John Frendo.
The first real chance came in the ninth minute as man mountain striker Chid Onokwai broke through for Marlow but his shot flashed across the face of Royston’s goal.
Again the lack of fluidity in the game continued until Nolan popped up again in the 17th minute.
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Some good link-up play between the striker and Castiglione saw the ball land back at Nolan’s feet and he stabbed home.
Royston’s keeper Joe Welch has continually proved why he is the best goalkeeper in the division.
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Called into action on 19 minutes, he spread himself well and deflected a point-blank shot over the bar to keep his team in front.
Both teams exchanged blows up to the break as Martel Powell had a shot blocked, Onokwai again threatened for the hosts and Castiglione went close from a training-ground corner routine.
Kaan Fehmi had the best chance on 37 minutes, finding himself clear through coming in from the right but keeper Simon Grant did enough to block the low shot.
For 40 minutes of the second half Town were doing the ugly work that this stage of the seasons always needs.
Marlow had several chances that were either blocked or saved but chances at the other end for the Crows to put the game out of sight were limited.
Castle used all his substitutes to help the cause – swapping Fehmi for Rod Orlando-Young, Adam Watkins for Spyros Mentis and finally Nolan for John Frendo.
This extra momentum brought the clinching goal.
A long throw was deflected into the path of Castiglione who finished calmly past the covering defenders.
With a minute to go and showing his alertness Welch made the save of the game, athletically diving and tipping over a superb overhead kick that was going in top corner.
Royston could go eight points clear of second-placed Farnborough this evening (Tuesday) as they travel to Ashford Town (Middlesex). Kick-off is 7.45pm.