FA Cup ‘always a bit special’ crows Royston boss Castle

Royston Town manager Steve Castle.

Royston Town manager Steve Castle. - Credit: Archant

Royston Town boss Steve Castle knows all about the magic of the FA Cup and is hoping to help his team enjoy a run in this year’s competition.

The Crows welcome Evo-Stik League South Premier Division rivals Dunstable Town to Garden Walk for a first-qualifying round tie on Saturday, after the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw last weekend.

And Castle, 51, knows just how important the £3,000 prize money can be for non-league clubs at this stage of the season.

He said: “The FA Cup is a bit special. It always has been and always will be.

“It starts with the very early stages at grassroots level and we’re coming in at a slightly later stage and we’ve not had a cup run since I’ve been here.

“We had a nice FA Trophy run last year, losing to the eventual semi-finalists, and can take some encouragement from that.

“It really benefitted our league form, playing against teams from a higher level, and made us a better and stronger side.”

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Royston came through four rounds of the Trophy, beating Hampton & Richmond along the way, before bowing out against Dulwich in a replay.

And Castle knows all about replays from his own playing career with Leyton Orient, adding: “I scored an equalising penalty in the last minute against West Ham at Brisbane Road.

“I’d just been put on penalties and had never take one in a professional environment. It was quite a bit of responsibility, for an east London lad, to make the club a lot of money from a replay at Upton Park.

“I think I was too silly and young to realise it at the time, but I put it away nicely and we got the replay. Unfortunately they put us out.”

Following last weekend’s draw with Dunstable, the tie this weekend has a replay feel about it and Castle is determined to make home advantage count.

“We were disappointed with the result last Saturday, being at home. They’re a young, inexperienced team, but they give everything and their attitude was top drawer.

“I’m not saying ours wasn’t, but our finishing was not up to the desired standard and proved the difference between it being a win or a draw.

“Without being over-confident we will go in with a positive mood and hopefully this will be the year to push us nearer to the first round proper.”