As my last visit to Kidlington was in November (http://www.botp.co.uk/blog/three-and-easy) there is no point going into detail about Yarnton Road. Suffice to say that nothing has changed in the last 2 months.
To be honest, the decision to visit Kidlington again so soon was swayed more by the fact that it was the league leaders coming to town than anything else. One of the account managers that I deal with in my day job lives in Royston and we have been threatening to visit Garden Walk together for a while without ever managing to synchronise our calendars. So, with them playing less than 10 miles from my house, it seemed rude not to go and take a look at them.
The last time I had seen The Crows play was way back in September 2013 in an away game at Aylesbury United, who were then playing at Leighton Town's ground. (http://www.botp.co.uk/blog/ducks-and-crows)
The game started quite scrappily with neither side really make much of an impression. However it was plain to see that despite recent for and league positions, Kidlington were not going to roll over for their lofty opponents.
After 15 minutes the game sprang to life a little with two good chances coming, one at either end, in the space of less than a minute. Both were squandered and the game remained 0-0.
Royston then had the best opportunity of the half so far. A free-kick was floated deep into the Kidlington box and when the home keeper could only palm it away the resulting effort from Orlando-Young was headed off the line by a Kidlington defender.
Then, just on the half-hour mark, it was Royston who broke the deadlock when Watkins picked the ball up in a central position some twenty yards out. His speculative shot somehow squirmed under Warrell in the home goal and into the net. 0-1 after 30 minutes.
Kidlington, who didn't really deserve to be behind, tried to hit back immediately when straight from the kick-off Lewis Coyle tried to curl a shot into Welch's top right corner. The Crow's keeper pulled off a very good full length save to tip the ball around the post. However, when the corner was played into the box home defender Charlie Wise was first to react, poking the ball home at the near post. At least that was what I thought had happened. In fact the goal was eventually credited as an own goal for Spyros Mentis. 1-1, 32 minutes played.
Kidlington's tails were now up and they were looking the more likely team to score, which they thought they had done in the 40th minute. Odhiambo got his head to a left-wing cross, glancing the ball past Welch into the far corner. However, the assistant's flag was up immediately and the goal was chalked out for offside.
HT Kidlington 1 Royston Town 1. A good first half from the home side. Anyone who didn't know the teams would have had great difficulty picking out the league leaders.
On a cold night, and after a fairly lengthy break, both sides took a little while to get back into their strides after the restart. When they did it was Kidlington who created the next real opportunity. Odhiambo trying his luck from well outside the box and seeing his shot fizz past Welch's right-hand post. Three minutes later, on 66 minutes, Royston really should have taken the lead when their captain, Mentis, put a free header over the bar from 6 yards out. It was a missed chance that they would soon regret even more.
With 17 minutes left on the clock and Royston pushing into the Greens half, Kidlington won the ball back amidst claims of a foul from the Royston players and bench. I had a good view of the incident and I will say that I thought it was a foul. However, the referee's opinion counts for more than mine or Steve Castle's and he deemed it a fair challenge. Kidlington broke free and fed the ball down the left for Tommy Castle to have a run at goal. He duly obliged, powering a cross-shot past the despairing hand of Welch and into the far corner. A contentious build up to the goal but a very accomplished finish. 2-1 to Kidlington.
It was a lead that the home side never really looked like losing from that point. In fact, Kidlington finished the stronger of the two sides and looking more likely to extend their lead than concede an equaliser.
FT Kidlington 2 Royston Town 1. A great, if slightly unexpected, result for Kidlington who were very much deserving of the three points on the night. Royston were clearly not at their best but nothing should be taken away from the home side's performance especially on the back of three defeats.
Royston remain top of the table and 5 points clear, Kidlington stay in 18th spot but are just 3 points adrift of Beaconsfield in 11th. My record watching Kidlington now stands at played 5, won 5, drawn 1.
Kidlington - @kidlington_fc
Royston Town - @roystontownfc