Vase joy for Crows

Southend Manor 2 Royston Town 3 A MISSED penalty with the last kick of the game saw Royston through to the first round proper of the FA Vase on Saturday. Southend Manor captain Jason Jay skied over following David Cain s rash tackle on Welcome Mtsmali

Southend Manor 2 Royston Town 3

A MISSED penalty with the last kick of the game saw Royston through to the first round proper of the FA Vase on Saturday.

Southend Manor captain Jason Jay skied over following David Cain's rash tackle on Welcome Mtsmali and spared Paul Attfield's men from extra-time.

With the game switched to Garden Walk following building work at Manor, it was the visitors that started the brighter, with right-back David Krayling going close with a towering back post header.


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At the other end, Craig Hammond went closest for Town with his header testing the reach of Louis Green.

Chances for both sides remained few and far between, although Town keeper Richard Barlow had to be alert to one stinging strike from Chris Baddeley.

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Town could have gone in front after half an hour when Jamie Babbage broke from defence to find Mark Wright and when his through ball found the feet of Hammond the Royston striker forced another good stop from close range.

Then after 38 minutes, The Crows made the breakthrough when Luke Robins crashed home from the left following Wright's clever turn and pass.

Royston's lead was almost cut short minutes into the second half however, with Baddeley and Krayling both going close. And their bright second half start was soon rewarded when substitute David Flynn's low strike crept past Barnes.

Despite the setback, The Crows always looked in control with captain Conor De Lacy doing his best to drive his side forward.

And it was from one such move that saw Royston take the lead once more, with Hammond upended in the box following Robins' cross.

After picking himself up, there was only going to be one outcome for Royston's talented striker, with his confident strike rooting Green to the spot with 12 minutes on the clock.

Hammond almost made it three, first twisting skilfully past David Manda and Jon Wheatstone only to see his shot deflected wide, and then seeing one over-head kick bravely blocked.

However, the powerful number nine made no mistake with three minutes left capping a brilliant flowing move involving Cain, Gregg Jackson and Robins with a confident header.

With the tie seemingly all but wrapped up, Royston were given a nervous final few minutes with the unmarked Adam Sealey tapping the ball home.

Then with a last gasp attack, Manor were awarded a penalty however, Cain's blushes were spared as Jay's strike blazed high over Barnes' bar.

Royston will now face Wellingborough Town of the Eagle Bitter United League Premier Division on Saturday, October 4 at Garden Walk.

Attfield said: "It was a strange game really, and one that we had to do too much defending in. Despite the win we didn't play particularly well and struggled to get out of gear.

"On another day we could well have lost the game. But we had four or five chances and scored three - and that was enough to see us through.

"On the positive side, I thought our back four defended very well throughout and to be fait they had to!

"At 3-1 I thought the game was all but won, but in the end our naivety almost saw extra-time. Fortunately their captain missed the penalty.

"So overall, it's mixed emotions really. It's obviously good to be in the next round but our play of late has been fairly inconsistent. We are getting the results though, and I suppose that is the sign of a good team."

Royston: Richard Barlow; Tom Malins, Michael Debnam, Jamie Babbage, David Cain; Conor De Lacy, Carl Edwards, Ricky Young, Luke Robins; Craig Hammond, Mark Wright. (Subs): Ross Collins, Gregg Jackson, Arron Welch, Will Turl, Danny Apostolos.

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