BetVictor Southern Premier Central
Royston Town 3 (Ofosu 36, Watkins 49, Adams 84)
Stratford Town 2 (Rowley 77 87)
Report by Rod Abrahams
FOLLOWING the fine win against Hednesford Town, Stratford Town slipped to another defeat on the road on Tuesday night.
Despite a late flourish from the Blues, it wasn’t enough to stop them from slumping to their first defeat at Royston, having won two and drawn two of the last four encounters at Garden Walk.
There were three changes to the team which beat Hednesford, with Chris Wreh, Kairo Edwards-John and Sam Lomax replaced by Kyle McFarlane, Jordan Clement and Harvey White.
The injured Ross Oulton also made the bench.
It was the Crows who started on the front foot, as they had the lion’s share of the possession.
The home side were pressing from the off and a Matthew Bateman header went wide and a similar effort from Daniel Brathwaite was well saved by Harvey White.
Town’s response was a shot from Ravi Shamsi which was saved low down by goalkeeper Joe Welch at his near post for a corner.
Dan Vann whipped in a cross-cum-shot from the right which looked like going in, but somehow defender Adam Crowther managed to scoop it off the line and over the bar.
The Crows finally broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when a cross from Gus Scott-Morriss was touched on by Bateman to Claudio Ofosu, who drilled a low shot into the bottom corner from 15 yards out.
Stratford had a couple of half-chances, with Clement shooting over from a corner and Lewis Wilson inches wide with a good strike from 20 yards out.
With White making good saves from Bateman and Adams, and Kyle Rowley and Matt Bower doing some good defending, Stratford kept the deficit to a single goal at the break.
After the break Royston were soon on the attack, with a 30-yard free-kick from James Brighton tipped over by White.
Stratford failed to clear the flag-kick and the loose ball was fired home by Adam Watkins through a ruck of players to double their advantage four minutes into the second half.
Royston were still dominating the possession, but Town went close to reducing the deficit on the hour mark when Town had three corners in quick succession and Bower’s goal-bound header nodded off the line by Crowther.
Brathwaite hit the post in the 76 minute for Royston, but a minute later the game changed when Stratford pulled a goal back.
A Shamsi free-kick was not dealt with and from the resulting melee skipper Rowley prodded the ball in to give Town a lifeline with 13 minutes left.
Stratford upped the tempo as they went in search of the equaliser, but it was the Crows who restored their two-goal advantage when a Scott-Morris corner was turned in at the near post by Brandon Adams with six minutes left.
Town were given another lifeline three minutes later when Rowley got his second goal, this time powering in a header from a Shamsi corner.
Despite their late efforts, Town were unable to get an equaliser as Royston saw the game out.
ROYSTON: Joe Welch, Gus Scott-Morriss, James Brighton (Callum Taylor 70), Harold Joseph, Adam Crowther, Daniel Brathwaite, Adam Watkins (Josh Castiglione 57), Spyros Mentis, Brandon Adams (Luke Warner-Eley), Matthew Bateman, Claudio Ofosu. Unused subs: Daniel Green, Harry Smart.
TOWN: Harvey White, Dan Vann, Kai Woollard-Innocent, Courtney Richards, Matt Bower, Kyle Rowley, Lewis Wilson, Foday Nabay, Kyle McFarlane, Ravi Shamsi, Jordan Clement. Unused subs: Jack Bennett, Jarrell Hylton, Ross Oulton, Kyle Ambris, Matthew Campbell-Mhlope.