Ten-man Crows win again

Hadley 2 (Simpson 72, Robinson 90) Royston Town 3 (McDevitt 32, Robins 47, Sabag OG 85)

TEN-MAN Royston Town racked up their fourth league win on the spin against Hadley on Tuesday night.

And they were full value for the three points despite centre-half Liam McDevitt’s baffling sending off shortly before half time.

McDevitt had already given the Crows the lead before getting his marching orders seven minutes before the break. But a second half strike from Luke Robins and an own goal just before the end sealed an important win for Paul Attfield’s side.

The game got off to a slow start as neither side were able to settle into any sort of rhythm and Royston were forced to employ unfamiliar long-ball tactics that rarely threatened the Hadley back-line.

The Crows did go ahead on 32 minutes, though, when an in-swinging Ross Collins free-kick somehow bounced its way to the far post to an unmarked McDevitt who gladly prodded the ball past the helpless goalkeeper.

Hadley had an instant chance to get back on level pegging a minute later when David Cain was harshly adjudged to have brought down the Hadley winger inside the box.

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However, the pink-booted winger picked himself up and showed exactly why it is not wise to wear such ridiculously coloured footwear on a football pitch when he put the spot-kick wide of Luke Howard’s left-hand post. He didn’t look so flash then.

If Royston thought the penalty decision was poor then they were even more incensed minutes later when McDevitt was shown a straight red for bringing down the striker on the edge of the area. It looked extremely harsh and Attfield was forced to completely reorganise his back four.

Lewis Endacott moved to centre-half in place of McDevitt while Collins was moved to left-back to replace Ashley Grinham who had already been substituted due to a dead leg.

The Crows saw out the remainder of the first half relatively untroubled although Endacott made a superb last-ditch tackle after the Hadley striker had taken the ball around Howard.

The Crows couldn’t have wished for a better start to the second half as they doubled their lead on 48 minutes. Bobby Dance showed power and skill to get to the byline and cross for an unmarked Robins at the far post who tapped into the empty net.

Despite being a man down, Royston were rarely stretched by the home side and when they did get a shot on goal they found Crows ‘keeper Howard in excellent form.

Hadley did reduce the deficit on 72 minutes when the giant-sized Melford Simpson rolled Endacott in the area before chipping the ball over Howard.

Hadley upped the pressure in the final stages but the introduction of Josh Bronti and Ricky Young gave Royston much-needed pace on the counter-attack and they duly punished Hadley for committing too many numbers forward on 85 minutes when Young raced down the right wing and his cross was turned past his own ‘keeper by Tony Sabag.

There was still time for Hadley to grab a second when a second attempt at a throw in found the unmarked Neil Robinson who fired a half-volley past Howard.

It mattered little, though, as Royston ran out deserved winners on the night despite playing most of the match a man down.

Royston: Howard, Endacott, Cain, McDevitt, Grinham (Edwards 18), Malins, Lamacraft, Collins, Robins (Bronti 81), Lockett, Dance (Young 81).