Slick goal is saving grace

Royston Town Vets1 Fox & Duck 0 THE recent struggle to convert chances into goals continued at Garden Walk on Sunday against local rivals Fox & Duck, but Town eventually managed to score the only goal of a scrappy game. Colin McArthur took over in goal f

Royston Town Vets1 Fox & Duck 0 THE recent struggle to convert chances into goals continued at Garden Walk on Sunday against local rivals Fox & Duck, but Town eventually managed to score the only goal of a scrappy game. Colin McArthur took over in goal from Merv Chaffey, Ian King came in for Mike Jackson at right back and Jay Waite made a rare appearance for the Vets. With Dickie Harris and Carlo Silenti controlling the central midfield, Town enjoyed much of the early possession but were unable to create many clear-cut openings on goal. The pattern of play continued as the half progressed with only sporadic breakaways by the opposition giving Town's defence any cause for concern. Town became increasingly frustrated by the lack of penetration up front and from getting caught offside repeatedly as Fox & Duck defence held their line. The hosts started the second half in more purposeful mood and created a number of good openings. Kevin Barthrop and the Lewis brothers, Paul and Simon, all had opportunities but a combination of poor finishing and a string of inspired saves by the visitors' goalkeeper prevented any score. Town nearly went behind as they struggled to cope with a quick break from Fox & Duck that resulted in a fine effort being kept out by an outstanding save from McArthur. Just as it looked as if the game would end goalless Town produced their best move of the match with slick passing down the left between Jay Waite and Darryl Quinn setting up Paul Lewis to hammer a shot into the top right corner to finally beat the visitors' keeper. Royston Town Vets: C McArthur, I King, B Cannon, K Flack, I Allen, K Barthrop, D Quinn, R Harris, C Silenti, S Lewis, P Lewis, I Stubbs, J Waite. - Town's scheduled fixture for this Sunday is a trip to Birchanger. Cambridge Cosmos 0 JM Metals 1 AFTER losing to Cosmos 4-3 three weeks ago Metals felt they had something to prove against a clearly weaker team. Metals came out much the better team, knocking the ball about with ease and looked in control. The possession paid off when 15 minutes in, Terry Woods put a perfectly floated pass into the stride of Adam Stokes who lobbed the keeper from 18 yards to give metals a deserved lead. JM continued to pass the ball around nicely and looked in control up until half time. In the second half, Cosmos kept battling but found it hard to break down Metals strong back line. The best move of the match came with 10 minutes to go when Oliver McGrath won the ball in the middle of the park and slotted a through ball for Adam Stokes, who passed to Paul Stokes, who, with the goal at his mercy, shinned the ball into the goalkeeper's hands. However due to a hard battling midfield and a solid defence Metals held on for a 1-0 win to remain top of the league. Harston 1987 1 Steeple Morden 4 IN AN eagerly-awaited encounter, Steeple Morden dominated what was expected to be a tough physical match at Harston recreation ground. Fortune shone on an early Steeple Morden effort when Ben Holt shot from the edge of the Harston area. The ball struck the base of the post and rebounded in off the goalkeeper to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. After much midfield battling Harston were even more fortunate to grab an equaliser, when a long kick from their goalkeeper and good pressure from the frontline saw the ball bounce straight into the Morden goal. Harston's joy was, however, short lived as Steeple Morden regained their lead within minutes. Johnny Harper found himself alone with just the keeper to beat. As the centre backs closed in, Harper lifted the ball over the Harston keeper with a divine lob. The second half continued as the first half closed with Steeple Morden playing some great football all over the park. Ben Holt scored his second of the game and capped his man of the match performance by bursting through the home sides defence, rounding the keeper and walking the ball into the back of the net. With a three-goal advantage Kenny Watters, the Steeple Morden manager, made a triple substitution, bringing on Andy Prentice, Nijat Kocak and Kieran Smith, adding some fresh legs and fresh ideas into the proceedings. It did not take long for this to show dividends. Kocak was paid handsomely for his constant running when, having beaten the offside trap, he stroked the ball into the right side of the goal giving the keeper no chance. The well-deserved victory ensured Steeple Morden moved up the table into second place at Harston's expense. Banyers 8 TWI 2 BANYERS maintained their title push after a strong first half performance. It was Dave Ratcliffe who created the opening goal. A challenge with the keeper presented Barry Wood with the ball on the corner of the area, and an open goal at his mercy. However, two visiting players had got back on the line to block, but the rebound was snapped up by Jeremy Clements who fired in from a couple of yards. Five minutes later, Banyers were awarded a free kick on the right wing. Adam Smith floated a delightful ball over the first defender, Wood flicked it on, and Scott Easy finished off with a header from close range. Immediately after, Banyers were three up. Neil Smith hitting a sweet strike into the top left hand corner from the edge of the box after Stephen Ramshaw's good piece of control. Wood got on the scoresheet soon after, running in behind the defence onto Smith's throughball, and lobbing the oncoming keeper. The best team goal of the game was scored just before half time by skipper Mark Halfacre. From centre back, he picked up the ball and after a flowing move his 80-yard run was rewarded with a tap-in from a yard. The visitors started the second half strongly, and quickly reduced the lead with a pair of well-taken goals. Banyers woke up and were 6-2 up when Wood ran from the halfway line onto Easy's pass and placing his shot under the keeper. Wood then got his hat-trick in exactly the same way, running onto Ratcliffe's pass this time and slotting to the left of the keeper. Wood returned the favour and put Ratcliffe through on the half way line. With 30 seconds to go, he managed to get into the area and fire into the goal at the near post. Banyers: A Pigg, A Smith, M Halfacre, N Smith, G Radford, S Easy, S Cawdell, S Ramshaw, D Ratcliffe, J Clements, B Wood. Subs: P Matthews, M Hall, M Crowley. Fowlmere 4 Birchanger 3 FOWLMERE recorded their first win of 2006 but nearly threw it away in the second half as they progressed in the Saffron Walden Cup. The hosts, who have gone out of two cup competitions in the closing stages, were determined to get back on track in a competition which gives Fowlmere their best chance of any silverware this season. Fowlmere changed the team around from a side which got a good point against Litlington the previous week, and they took the lead when Nick King's long pass found Shilton who headed down for George Kew to volley in from the edge of the 18 yard box. This rattled the visitors who then resorted to late tackles to stop Fowlmere's flowing football. But it was soon 2-0 when Shilton got behind the back line to cross for Kew to tap into an empty net for his second of the game. The visitors had a 10-minute spell of pressure but some good defending and one good save by Carl Pedlar kept them out. Fowlmere grabbed a third goal just before the break when pressure by Trevor Symonds forced the visiting defender into hitting an 18-yard shot past his own keeper into the top corner. The visitors, to their credit, came out in determined fashion and 15 minutes into the second half got a goal back. Fowlmere then looked rattled - the visitors were now on top and it was not long before they pulled another back. Fowlmere then had a chance to kill the game off when Adam Fields had a shot blocked and Ian Geal had a header cleared off the line. With five minutes left the visitors got their equaliser following a swift move. Fowlmere responded excellently though and got the winner within a minute when Terry Woods slipped Symonds through on goal and the keeper saved his shot but the ball spilled out of his grasp and fell to Woods who rammed the ball home. Fowlmere: Pedlar, O'Farrell, King, Martin, Geal, Kew, Blair, T Woods, Fields, Shilton, Symonds. Subs: Douglas, B Wood, Sooter.