Second half strikes hand Royston Town a late Christmas present

Ingrey for Royston

Ingrey for Royston - Credit: Archant

Jack Bradshaw’s penalty and substitute Erkan Okay’s late effort sealed a fine 2-0 victory for Royston Town over 10-man St Ives Town which propels them back into the Southern League Division One Central playoffs.

Both sides entered the clash on difficult runs with the Crows on a winless streak of two games while former league leaders St Ives had failed to register three points in any of their three matches in December.

That made for a stodgy first half with very few chances. Bradshaw saw a header fly over the top on 22 minutes from Danny May’s free-kick while at the other end, debutant Andrew Phillips scuffed wide when gifted a very presentable opportunity.

This local derby exuded plenty of blood and thunder - most notably Jared Cunniff’s rash lunge on Royston skipper Scott Bridges in the 37th minute which earnt the visiting man a yellow card - but quality in the final third was in short supply.

Into the second half the home side turned up the heat on their negative opponents and after going close through Ryan Ingrey’s smash across the face of goal and Rhys Hoenes’ miscued shot, they were finally rewarded for their endeavour 13 minutes from time.

Captain Charlie De’Ath had clear hold of substitute Reece Dobson’s shirt inside the box with the referee pointing to the spot and administering a second yellow card for the defender, having been booked for a poor tackle earlier in the game.

Up stepped Bradshaw to squeeze the ball beneath keeper Tim Trebes and in.

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In added time Royston doubled their lead and ensured they will finish 2015 in the playoffs.

Trebes half-heartedly cleared the ball straight to the right boot of Okay near halfway and the midfielder kept his cool to sidefoot into an empty net from 40 yards.