Steady Eddy stays cool to give Crows dramatic victory

Ten-man Royston snatch all three points at the death away to Colney Heath

Colney Heath 1

Royston Town 2

SSMFL Premier Division

CARL EDWARDS’ last-gasp winner earned 10-man Royston Town a dramatic victory at Colney Heath on Saturday.

So dramatic, in fact, that manager Paul Attfield was shown a red card for running onto the pitch and celebrating his team’s winner at the death, ala Swindon Town boss Paulo Di Canio. However that did little to dampen the mood of Attfield and his team, as they successfully maintained their five-point lead at the top of the Premier Division table.

It was far from plain sailing, though, as just five minutes after Kaan Fehmi had given the Crows a 35th-minute lead from the penalty spot, goalkeeper Will Norris was shown a red card for bringing down Ian Cooper in the box before receiving a straight red card. Jamie Eames scored from 12 yards and Royston were forced to contemplate playing 50 minutes with 10 men, with Jason Beck taking over responsibility between the sticks.

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However, the team showed fantastic spirit and they were rewarded for withstanding a second-half onslaught with Edwards’ 94th-minute winner that further demonstrated the Crows’ determination to win promotion this season.

The Crows shot down the slope during a first half that was played at a furious pace with the visitors getting on top in the first 20 minutes. Kaan Fehmi raced onto a good chipped ball forward but was let down by his touch and the danger evaporated. The best chance of the half fell to Matt Standen who latched onto Tom Malins’ excellent cross but blazed over the crossbar from close range.

The solid Colney Heath defensive unit proved difficult to breach and, such was their determination, chances were few and far between. It was, however, a difficult afternoon for the referee who struggled to keep control of the game with inconsistent decisions that left the contest simmering on the edge throughout.

A crude challenge on Lewis Endacott was unpunished with the full-back having to be withdrawn and replaced by Ashley Grinham for his first run-out for a couple of months. However the game really came to life in the last 10 minutes of the half.

The Crows won a penalty when Kaan Fehmi did well to hold the ball in the area with three defenders in attendance – one of which tripped him and the striker picked himself up to fire home.

Five minutes later an angled ball from the halfway line breached the Royston back-line with Cooper racing clear and rounding Norris and going down under the challenge. Despite the ball being pushed well wide by Copper and two defenders recovering to the six yard box, the referee succumbed to vigorous home protests and sent off the young, in-form keeper. Jason Beck picked up the gloves and the ball from the net as Eames scored with ease from the spot.

The Crows got to half-time without further trouble and a half-time change saw Kaan Fehmi replaced by Ross Collins with Royston starting with a 3-5-1 shape after the break.

The home side pummelled the visiting area with plenty of corners and excellent crosses in open play that were mostly heroically defended. Corners were the main problem with most of them causing problems. Twice the Crows scrambled balls off the line, twice the woodwork was struck and twice Beck somehow blocked close-range efforts but still the scores remained level.

And the seemingly impossible happened on 94 minutes when Ryan Lockett released Luke Robins down the left and, despite having a dead leg, the winger got to the goal line and pulled the ball back for Edwards who had all the time to shoot into the net via a deflection. There was little time left for any reaction and it’s now six league wins on the bounce for Attfield’s side.

Royston Town: Norris, Endacott (Grinham), Bradshaw, McGrandles, Beck, Martin Standen, Edwards, Malins (Lockett), Fehmi (Collins), Matt Standen, Robins.

Attendance: 137