Royston go five points clear with just three games remaining

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Royston Town 2

Hanwell Town 1

SSMFL Premier Division

FOR the third game running Royston were victorious by a narrow 2-1 scoreline – and as a result moved a step closer to promotion after second-placed Dunstable Town could only draw at Hadley.

Paul Attfield’s side are now five points clear with just three fixtures remaining, and on this evidence they are showing no signs of letting go of their grip on top spot. If the Crows win away at Oxhey Jets on Saturday, and Dunstable fail to win at home to Hillingdon Borough, the Garden Walk side will be celebrating promotion.

Both sides here had the need for maximum points and it was largely a cautious game without too many scoring opportunities. The Crows eased their way into the game with Matt Standen having two good early chances that he failed to convert.

Hanwell had pacey forwards and it was clear to see why they beat Leverstock Green by a 4-3 margin in midweek.

The Crows gradually built up a head of steam and took a 29th-minute lead when Hanwell were slow to clear a free-kick and Carl Edwards curled a fine effort from 25 yards past the keeper’s dive into the top corner.

The lead was doubled 10 minutes later when Luke Robins picked up a ball on half way, ran forward and struck a 30-yard effort goalwards that took a slight deflection and flew past the ‘keeper.

Hanwell responded with their best chance of the half straight with kick-off when Jason Beck misjudged a long ball letting in the forward with Damion Williamson making a superb block from the resulting shot.

The second half started with Royston still on top and Ryan Lockett could have extended the lead when he broke into the area but his low shot towards the near post was superbly saved by the keeper.

Attfield was forced to withdraw both Kaan Fehmi and Robins and the home team began to get edgy with Hanwell pushing forward at every opportunity. The Crows continued to defend in numbers leaving Ryan Redford as a lone striker and they were undone with 20 minutes remaining from a set play.

A simple corner was met 10 yards from goal with a header downwards that was converted from close range by Fergus Moore who poked high into the net.

The visitors continued to press but the home side’s determination was clearly evident and Hanwell only had one more clear chance in the final minute but a great chance it was when a free shot from 20 yards went a couple of inches wide of Williamson’s left hand post.

The result means Royston remain firmly in the driving seat for promotion.

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

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