After a couple of last minute drop outs we were down to a strong 12 for our first home game of the season.
We had 11 experienced stalwarts who had all played together and knew each-other's game plus Darren - a new Brummie midfielder added to the fold, who took on the linesman duties for the first 25 minutes. Royston have always brought a strong team and today looked like it was going to be the same.
Kieran was back in goal and with his quality distribution, we had a strong team throughout.
Some of the football in the first half was top class with the ball zipping about on the greasy short surface.
The back four of Roy, Nigel, Kev Hurst and Gavin were all razor sharp and reacting first to balls in front and those that were put in behind and this gave us a great foothold. Sedge and Two Touch were reunited and dominant in the midfield and Chris and Kev were marauding down the wings. This left Midge and Howard up front. The partnership they have up front is looking telepathic and some of the interplay was absolutely mesmerising. Everyone was playing well and using the ball intelligently.
There were some fantastic moves coming together all over the pitch and our pressing game was putting the opponents under pressure too. After about 20 minutes some pressure from the left saw a misplaced clearance from their right back bounce up into space just outside the D. As the defender moved to close Sedge down, he hooked it first time goal-wards and the ball looped high into the air before dropping over the keeper into the impressive looking new academy style goals for an excellent opener. 1-0. Soon after it was 2-0. Kev Anderson battled impressively with the left fullback and dispossessed him near the bye line before the ball was squared across the penalty area. As the ball was struck towards the goal from 18 yards by Howard, Midge was there to add a finishing touch to guide it past the keeper for a deserved second goal to the tally.
We shuffled the pack and Darren came on to play left wing and he slotted in well with a workmanlike display featuring some classy one-two's with Two Touch.
Royston were playing some decent football but we just seemed to have a little more quality and penetration throughout. However, as we approached half time they played some incisive football through the middle which saw them deliver a good goal on the counter attack. It was the first mistake that the defence had made and they punished us.
Half time score was 2-1 and we knew the next goal was a big one in this tight, evenly contested encounter.
A few chances came and went with Two Touch, Howard, Chris Parker and Midge all forcing acrobatic saves from the diminutive but impressive keeper. He had looked like he was injured after 5 minutes of the game but he must have pulled out 7 top class saves that looked like goals all the way. However, after about 70 minutes he was beaten by a goal of genuine quality. A throw in down the right wing was headed on by Howard to Midge who kept the ball up in the air before guiding it into the path of Sedge who was bursting into the box from the left. As the ball dropped Sedge volleyed it first time with his left foot to dispatch a screamer that the keeper did not even see! It was a goal worthy of winning the match and it capped off a strong display from the Hemingford Veterans again. There were a couple of ragged spells during the second half where we lost a bit of accuracy and composure but we stayed strong, talked well and competed resolutely throughout.
3-1 and our 3rd consecutive win of the season was cause for celebration and we all enjoyed a drink and Nigel's sandwiches in the bar. Royston had made a good game of it and there was not a crossed word throughout the fixture which was refereed fluently by Mr Smith.
Sedge was voted man of the match but everyone played well from front to back on the day.
Until the next time....