A goal three minutes into stoppage time gave Royston Town a sickening loss at Hitchin Town - but the performance left more of a sour taste in the mouth of manager Steve Castle.

Toby Syme's header in the 1-0 win drags the Canaries to within one point of the Crows in Southern League Premier Division Central.

And it was deserved according to a vey disgruntled Royston boss.

Castle said: "[Late goals are a kick in the teeth] but we didn’t deserve anything if I'm truthful.

"I thought they went about the game in a much more positive manner than we did. 

"At this stage of the season, [my players] all have careers to play for, they've got contracts to play for and they [should have] the desire to win a game of football. 

"I thought that was lacking for us. 

"Hitchin showed that they probably wanted to win the game a little bit more than we did, which is quite embarrassing to say, but it's the truth." 

The second half collapse from the away team was in sharp contrast to the way they started the game with Matt Bateman going close with three separate efforts.

That, according to Castle, sums up Royston's year.

"That's us in a nutshell," he said. "If we go and get ourselves a goal up, we seem like we're a completely different team.

"At 0-0 or 1-0 down, any belief or confidence that we've got seems to ebb away very quickly. 

"It's a local derby and it was disappointing [for us]. We've had the ascendancy in in a lot of these games but Hitchin deserved it so fair play to them." 

The biggest disappointment for the manager though was the fact that with the pressure off, they didn't get close to the standards he expects.

He said: "I made a few changes and there are a few lads coming back from injury but the 11 we had out there at any stage was strong enough to compete against any Southern League Premier Central team. 

"We didn’t compete, not for the standard I’m looking to set. 

"We've just got to give ourselves a little bit more belief in in what we're doing."