Dreams of Wembley over as valiant Crows exit FA Trophy

Royston manager Steve Castle. Picture: Danny Loo

Royston manager Steve Castle. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Royston Town’s dream of reaching Wembley and the FA Trophy final is over as the Crows lost 2-1 in extra-time against Concord Rangers in the last-eight on Tuesday night.

Having beaten the likes of Boreham Wood, Chester City and Ebbsfleet United during their historic run to the quarter-finals, Steve Castle’s men would have been hoping to cause another upset to reach the last four and a tie against Halesowen Town.

The game went ahead at Thames Road after Saturday’s postponement, and it was the home side who took the lead on 35 minutes thanks to Jon Nouble’s strike.

Royston had the perfect chance to draw level just two minutes later as they were awarded a penalty, but Matt Bateman saw his spot-kick saved by Chris Haigh.

The visitors did find an equaliser on 54 minutes as Luke Warner-Eley drove home from range and the tie then went to extra-time to decide a winner.

With 93 minutes on the clock, Decarrey Musi Sheriff was introduced as a substitute and he netted with his first touch to send Concord Rangers through and break Royston hearts.

Crows captain Adam Murray was devastated by their last-eight exit, saying: “I’m absolutely gutted.

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“When dreams are so close but they get taken away just like that it hurts.

“I want to say a massive thank you to all you supporters that travelled down, we really appreciate it.”

Royston president Alan Barlow was also quick to thank supporters, adding: “The adventure is over, but the dream lives on.

“A massive thank you to all the players, management team and especially our supporters who were superb throughout.

“I’m exceptionally proud of what we have achieved so far and firmly believe that there is a whole lot more to come.”

Castle must pick his side up quickly after their FA Trophy heartbreak as attention now turns to Royston’s bid for promotion from the Southern League Premier Division Central.

The Crows sit third in the table just two points behind leaders Tamworth, and they are back in league action on Saturday when they welcome struggling St Ives Town to Garden Walk.

Royston do have the chance to pick up two trophies this season with the club still in the Herts Charity Cup.

They take on Hemel Hempstead Town on Tuesday in the last four, and they will be hoping to reach the final and lift the trophy.