Ten-man Crows overcome Hadley

Luke Robins scores twice as Roytson stay top of the league

Royston Town 3

Hadley 1

SSMFL Premier Division

A LUKE Robins brace and a last-minute strike from Matt Standen kept up Royston Town’s promotion hunt on Saturday.

The win was even more admiral after playing almost the entire second half with 10 men after goalkeeper Will Norris was sent off for the second time this season for retaliation in the 48th minute. However Paul Attfield’s side were still the better team despite their disadvantage and they remain level on points with Dunstable Town after their win over AFC Dunstable.

Hadley arrived at Garden Walk with great determination and a new-look younger side after a recent management change. They were technically good and passed the ball well but lacked a cutting edge in the final third and never really troubled the Crows.

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Royston took the lead after 15 minutes when right-back Joe Clemo got to the byline before sending in a teasing cross that Robins volleyed home to maintain his recent good form in front of goal.

And the lead was double three minutes later and it was Robins again who applied the finishing touch. Ross Collins’ pinpoint corner was met by an unmarked Robins who planted a header past the ‘keeper.

In terms of chances created that was as good as it got from the Crows who struggled to find a third goal although full-backs Clemo and Ashley Grinham looked dangerous when going forward.

With a comfortable cushion at half time Royston made a truly awful opening to the second period. Straight from kick-off, Dom Petrucci ran straight at goal past several withering tackles and was brought down by Collins 25 yard out. While the initial kick was charged down the referee ordered a retake from which Petrucci found a hole in the wall giving Norris no chance to his right.

Moments later the situation was worsened when Norris reacted to a Hadley player kicking the ball at him after a stoppage by throwing the ball back at his counterpart and was duly sent off by the referee. Royston’s young stopper has been immensely mature in his short time at the club but this was a moment of petulance that was not required.

Collins took over between the sticks as Attfield switched his side to a 4-3-2 formation. But despite their one-man advantage, Hadley struggled to get near the Royston penalty area and as a result Collins was never really tested.

At the other end Royston looked far more likely to add to the score and they came agonisingly close when substitute Ricky Young smashed a shot against the post from 20 yards before his right-wing cross rebounded off the crossbar.

However the win was sealed in stoppage time when good work from Young, Kaan Fehmi and Carl Edwards allowed Matt Standen to fire a fierce shot past the motionless ‘keeper that went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Royston travel to Hertford Town this Saturday.

Royston Town: Norris, Clemo, Grinham, Endacott (Apostolos), Bradshaw, Martin Standen, Edwards, Collins, Fehmi (Redford), Matt Standen, Robins (Young).