Royston seal promotion with 1-0 win at Oxhey Jets

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Oxhey Jets 0

Royston Town 1

SSMFL Premier Division

ROYSTON TOWN were crowned champions on Saturday after winnng away at Oxhey Jets while Dunstable Town lost by the same scoreline at home to Hillingdon Borough.

It is the club’s second promotion in four years under manager Paul Attfield, and they can now look forward to playing Step 4 football next season in the Evo-Stik Division One Central thanks to John McGrandles’ second-half winner.

A fine run of just one defeat in 20 outings eventually broke the resilience of closest rivals Dunstable Town who could not quite match the Crows’ consistency and, although the free-flowing football of the first half of the season has been replaced with more dogged, grind-out displays recently, the results have been maintained and the statistics have to be respected and admired.

The first half here was tentative with both sides offering sporadic moments of quality but largely the half was full of mistakes and misplaced passes on the hard, end-of-season surface. With Royston looking comfortable they almost conceded on 10 minutes when a lofted ball in the box was misjudged allowing Putnam a free shot at goal that goalkeeper Damion Williamson superbly tipped wide.

At the other end a dipping left-footed half volley from Luke Robins brought a full-length save from Mark Jessop in the Oxhey goal before Ryan Lockett also had a good chance from Robins’ cut-back but couldn’t quite get good control of the ball and shot wide.

The game exploded into life after half-time and Oxhey were unlucky not to take the lead within two minutes of the restart when a vicious 30-yard effort smashed off the face of Royston’s crossbar. Despite the let-off, Royston were much-improved in the second half and the title-winning goal arrived on 55 minutes when McGrandles scored from a rebound after his initial effort from a corner was superbly saved by Jessop.

The Crows were then rocked on 82 minutes when Jason Beck was adjudged to have fouled a home forward in the area competing for a high ball but Williamson pulled off a fine diving save from the resulting penalty to protect his side’s lead.

Matt Standen should have been awarded a penalty late on when he broke clear and was pulled back by the last defender but the referee waved away incensed protests.

It mattered little, though, as the Crows held out for the win and the celebrations kicked off when news of Dunstable’s defeat filtered through.

Royston Town: Williamson, Clemo, Bradshaw, McGrandles, Beck, Collins, Edwards, Malins, Lockett, Standen, Robins (Young).

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