Under-par Royston Town drop vital league points at basement side

Bridges attempts a spectacular diving header

Bridges attempts a spectacular diving header - Credit: Archant

Ten-man Royston Town lost ground in the race for Southern League Division One Central promotion by disappointingly drawing 1-1 at basement club North Greenford United on Saturday.

North Greenford who battled throughout and capitalised on the Crows’ bad day, including Jack Bradshaw’s late red for an innocuous challenge, to earn themselves a precious point.

After a reasonably positive start on a soft pitch, Bradshaw’s looping header was cleared off the line and on 22 minutes, it was Town who eventually took the lead.

A free-kick looked like it was going to be hit left-footed by Chris Watters, but skipper Scott Bridges pulled rank and sent in a mid-height effort that clipped the wall and deceived young home keeper Lewis Todd enough to hit the corner of the net.

Three minutes later and it was all-square in bizarre circumstances.

The home team floated a free-kick into the box and it was met by a header from North Greenford captain Liam Hind that lobbed high and direct. With what should have been an easy catch for Ron Yates, he dropped the ball and the away faithful watched on in horror as it squirmed through his legs and into the goal for 1-1.

Into the second half, Castle, visibly and audibly frustrated with his team, made a three-man substitution on 60 minutes, replacing Liam McDevitt (carrying an injury) with Tommy Hull at centre-half, striker Simon Thomas with Gary Cohen and Ryan Towner with fellow midfielder Josh Castiglione.

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Castiglione was given the midfield break-up role but struggled to get in the game, being quickly shifted to a wider position as the formation shifted to a straight 4-4-2.

Royston battled on but were still poor in front of goal. Cohen looked to have a strong case for a penalty as he was fouled in the box but the referee was having none of it.

It was clear that both sides fancied a winner - but it was not to be, especially after Bradshaw was given his marching orders five minutes from time.

To add injury to insult Daniel Brathwaite pulled up injured and with no substitutes left was thrown up front leaving Hull – the only bright spark in a dark day – to defend intelligently and resolutely.

Reece Dobson had a chance to win but the game for the Crows at the death, finding himself centrally through on goal he blasted his low effort at the keeper and the chance to rescue the win was gone.