Royston Town 2-1 St Ives: Marriott brace caps impressive display as Crows seal derby win

Steve Castle's Royston Town beat St Ives 2-1 at Garden Walk

Steve Castle's Royston Town beat St Ives 2-1 at Garden Walk - Credit: Archant

Royston Town sealed a gritty 2-1 win over St Ives Town on Tuesday night thanks to Adam Marriott’s brace.

Marriott put in an impressive all-round display for the Crows, flitting between midfield and attack to devastating effect to seal a derby win for the home team.

Steve Castle’s men made a positive start, hustling and hassling St Ives in the opening exchanges. Full-backs Lee Chappell and Ed Asafu-Adjaye were a constant menace to St Ives, marauding forward at every opportunity.

It was Asafu-Adjaye who set up the opening goal after eight minutes. His clever through-ball teed up Marriott, who kept a cool head to slot past the keeper as Royston looked to be well on top.

However the Crows initial dominance was wasted, as St Ives equalized just eleven minutes later.

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It was a wonderfully crafted goal, with Danny Kelly’s flick setting winger Lewis Hilliard free on the left. Hilliard drove into the empty space and crossed for James Hall, who rounded Crows keeper Joe Welch and tapped home.

After such a fast start, the next few minutes were scrappy as Crows captain Adam Murray and his central-defensive partner Daniel Braithwaite dealt easily with a series of St Ives long-balls.

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Striker John Frendo missed a couple of decent chances and had a penalty appeal turned down on forty minutes.

As the half drew to a close, the home side ramped up the pressure. Only an inch-perfect interception from St Ives full-back Brett Longen prevented Frendo from tapping home. Royston also had three successive corners, but could not convert, and the half-time whistle blew.

The second half began controversially. St Ives goalscorer James Hall tumbled just inside the penalty area with two minutes gone, but his protestations went in vain. Thirty seconds later, the Crows had a goal ruled out for offside. It would have been a peach, too - Marriott had played a sublime, raking pass to set it up.

Shaken by the offside goal, St Ives bit back. Royston skipper Murray made two exemplary blocks when goals seemed certain, and St Ives winger Ben Seymour-Shove curled a long-ranger inches wide.

But with twenty minutes left – just as St Ives’s pressure was really looking ominous – Royston retook the lead.

Frendo played a neat pass through to Marriott, and the entire St Ives defence immediately stopped play, claiming offside. Marriott was the one player who played on, again slotting the ball home with impressive calm.

Cue St Ives bombarding the Crows for the rest of the match. Both St Ives full-backs - who had previously shown little in attack - cascaded forward with abandon. Seymour-Shove again went agonizingly close for St Ives, prompting Welch to bark at his defenders.

As the minutes wore on, St Ives’s frustrations became clear, as Peter Clark committed a horrible late foul on Gus Scott-Morriss. His agony was audible round the whole ground, and probably beyond. Yet his injury merely strengthened Royston’s resolve, and three endless minutes later, the win was theirs.

Royston 2 (Marriott 8, 72) St Ives 1 (Hall 19)

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