Hereford FC 2-0 Royston Town: Steve Castle’s battling Crows fall to table toppers at Edgar Street

PUBLISHED: 16:58 31 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:44 03 April 2018

Lance Smith heads Hereford FC ahead at Edgar Street against Royston Town. Credit Will Cheshire @hfcchesh

Lance Smith heads Hereford FC ahead at Edgar Street against Royston Town. Credit Will Cheshire @hfcchesh

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Hereford FC beat Royston Town 2-0 at evocative Edgar Street on Saturday afternoon to consolidate their lead at the top of the Evo-Stik Southern Premier league.

Hereford FC players celebrate after Lance Smith heads them ahead at Edgar Street against Royston Town. Credit Will Cheshire @hfccheshHereford FC players celebrate after Lance Smith heads them ahead at Edgar Street against Royston Town. Credit Will Cheshire @hfcchesh

A first half goal from the impressive Lance Smith followed by a late second from Rob Purdie sealed the win for the Bulls.

However the visitors gave their all in a tense, hard-fought game as Peter Beadles’ high-flyng Hereford faced a tough test against Steve Castle’s Crows.

A large Easter crowd assembled to cheer the resurgent Bulls – the team that refused to die after its community rallied to the aid of the stricken former incarnation United, to be reborn as FC – against the visitors from North Herts.

Beadle’s side started the match in top spot, one point ahead of Kings Lynn but with two matches in hand. Prior to kick-off Castle’s Crows were only one point off sixth place and the promised land of the play-offs, albeit ten points behind Slough Town.

Action from Edgar Street as Hereford FC hosted Royston Town. Credit Will Cheshire @hfccheshAction from Edgar Street as Hereford FC hosted Royston Town. Credit Will Cheshire @hfcchesh

Royston had put to an end to a run of four successive away defeats, dispiriting form which had seen their play-off hopes severely dented,

Castle started with Lee Chappell at left-back over Romelle Alomenu who started in the victory over near neighbours St Ives, while Adam Murray returned.

The prolific striker Adam Marriott against started, fresh from another hat-trick in the 3-1 victory over St Ives in midweek.

The home side went into the game on the back of a 7-0 county cup semi-final victory over the village of Ewyas Harold with the staring XI showing changes.

Action from Edgar Street as Hereford FC hosted Royston Town. Credit Will Cheshire @hfccheshAction from Edgar Street as Hereford FC hosted Royston Town. Credit Will Cheshire @hfcchesh

John Mills started over Jennison Myrie-Williams and Dara O’Shea returned to the bench. Eliot Richards started ahead of Murphy who missed out.

Hereford, wearing their traditional colours of white and black, attacked the Meadow End which housed the majority of their support – while Royston turned out in red shirts, shorts and socks.

On nine minutes Hereford nearly went ahead after a good through ball from Richards played in Lance Smith – who was only denied by an alert Josh Tibbets in goal, who showed good reactions in closing down space and blocking bravely.

On 18 minutes the lively Smith showed strength in winning the ball before feeding Keyon Reffell, who crossed for former Didcot Town forward Pablo Haysham –who promptly put the ball wide when well placed.

Moments later Jimmy Oates cross was headed down but wide of Tibbetts right hand side post by Smith who again should have done better.

Royston attempted to gain a foothold in the game when captain Scott Bridges shot from outside the box on 23 minutes but his effort went high and wide.

Marriott then incurred the wrath of the large crowd, rightly pencilled into referee Matthew Law’s book for a yellow card, after a needless late challenge on Richards before the hour mark.

Six minutes before half-time Beadle’s Bulls went 1-0 up through a well-directed Smith header in a crowded box which evaded Tibbetts to end up in the roof of the net after a deep Oates cross.

The second period was a shapeless and tense affair as news of second placed Kings Lynn win at Stratford came through.

Bulls’ Ryan Green was subject to a stiff challenge from the visitors Brathwaite – which earned the Crow a yellow card as Castle hooked him shortly afterwards.

As the clock ticked down on a tense match, a series of agricultural challenges were made as both sides gave their all in front of an impressive crowd of 2,657, which included 21 hardy travelling Crows fans.

However, the visitors had little to cheer as Hereford went 2-0 up to seal the game after Rob Purdle slotted home after persistence by Smith robbed the unfortunate Tibbetts before squaring for the 35-year-old former Shrewsbury Town man to drill home and pick up the three points.

Speaking after the match Castle told Crow Sport he was proud of his team’s efforts at Edgar Street, and of their efforts throughout the season.

He had every right to be.

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