Southern League Division Central: Barton Rovers 0 Royston Town 4
Barton Rovers were soundly beaten 4-0 by Southern League Division One Central champions elect Royston Town on Tuesday evening but not before putting up a fight.
Manager Jimmy Gray made four changes from Saturday’s starting line-up which saw a full debut to ex-Luton Town youngster Scott Sinclair.
With the game only a minute old, home keeper Tom Coulton sustained an injury after being fouled by an advancing Royston player, which prevented him moving freely or taking any goal kicks.
The visitors were confident in passing the ball around in the early exchanges but were not troubling Rovers defence and it was the home side that had the first sight of goal when Jimmy Hartley hit a tame shot straight at Crows keeper Joe Welch.
Steve Gentle had a header easily saved before Elliot Baily’s overhead kick was pushed round the post for a corner.
It was more of the same at the start of the second half, as Lee Close had a good long range effort for Rovers saved.
However the deadlock was broke on the hour mark when Scott Bridges’ free kick from the edge of the area gave Coulton no chance.
Royston’s second followed quickly as a static Rovers defence watch old boy Matt Nolan pounce and beat Coulton with a deft lob.
The goal of the game came after 70 minutes and was a fine solo effort by Josh Castiglione whose darting run and low shot gave the injured Coulton no chance.
Danny Watson had a good effort go wide for Rovers before Royston’s John Frendo popped up at the back post unmarked to complete what was a harsh scoreline for Barton.
Afterwards, boss Gray said: “We were killed from the first minute with the foul on Tom Coulton and his injury from it but all the lads put up a fight.
“We more than matched them for an hour and could have taken the lead.
“Royston are a decent side but they also have the biggest budget in the league by a country mile so we need to keep things in perspective.
“It was good to shuffle the pack and give a few of the fringe lads a start and they all accounted themselves well.
“We go to Histon on Saturday full of positives and will build on the first 60 minutes’ performance.”
Barton: Coulton, Smith, Gentle, Martin, Hartley, Close, Keating, Sinclair. Watson, Malcolm, Bailey. Subs: Hall, Andrews, Warner-Eley, Knight, Hutchins.