Just topping!

PUBLISHED: 09:22 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:41 11 May 2010

CRAIG HAMMOND: “Goal difference is important.”

CRAIG HAMMOND: “Goal difference is important.”

Amersham Town 2 Royston Town 2 ROYSTON Town s remarkable season reached new heights on ­Tuesday night, with this draw sending them to the top of the South Midlands Division One table. Little more than three months ago The Crows languished at the botto

Amersham Town 2

Royston Town 2

ROYSTON Town's remarkable season reached new heights on ­Tuesday night, with this draw sending them to the top of the South Midlands Division One table.

Little more than three months ago The Crows languished at the bottom, having taken just eight points from a possible 30.

However, since manager Paul Attfield and his assistant Tony Galvin arrived at the end of November, Royston have been unbeaten in 16 league games, taking 42 points and scoring 59 goals in the process.

And it is Royston's superior goal difference that has taken them to top spot, with Tuesday night's draw hauling them level on points with Kentish Town.

Leading goalscorer Craig Hammond said: "It was a tough game and in the end a point was enough to take us top, which is obviously very pleasing. But we're not going to get carried away because there are still a lot of games to play - and anything can happen.

"We've done well to get where we have considering that not too long ago we were rock bottom. However, nothing has been achieved yet, and hopefully we'll still be here come the end of the season.

"It's been a great turn-around though, and it's happened sooner than we might have thought. We may not have played too well on Tuesday, but we continued our unbeaten run and showed how important our goal difference is."

In fact, The Crows were far from their best as Amersham Town battled right to the end and deservedly snatched a ­leveller in the 88th minute.

Throughout, the hosts always looked dangerous going forward, with their lively strikers making it an uncomfortable night for Royston defenders Peter Chappell, Lewis Endacott, Jamie Babbage, and David Cain.

So it came as no surprise when ­Amersham opened the scoring midway through the first half, with Royston keeper Sam Booth left stranded.

However, their lead was short-lived, when Luke Robins hammered home a superb 30-yard free kick five minutes later.

The second half was also pretty even, although it was Royston who created the better of the chances, with Hammond unlucky to see one effort hooked off from the line.

The number nine then volleyed over, before Chris Hardy wasted a great chance to put The Crows in front when he too fired over from a good position.

However, Hammond made no mistake moments later for his 25th goal of the season, heading home Matt Turl's pin-point cross with 20 minutes to go.

With the clock running down, Royston tried to keep possession, but they were punished when some naivety caught them out around the box, and allowed Amersham in down the right, with their striker stunning The Crows with a clever header from 12 yards.

It was a cruel blow for Paul Attfield's side, who could well have moved two points clear at the top, and although ­disappointed, he believes a draw was the fair result.

Attfield said: "Amersham played well, and they certainly deserved to take something from the game. I'm obviously delighted that we have moved to the top of the table, but I'm also equally disappointed with our performance.

"The league is too tight to start producing sloppy showings, and our all-round game was not on song. At times we looked nervous and lacked fluency, and to ­concede when we did was a real kick in the teeth."

On Saturday Royston play their third of four consecutive away games, with a trip to fourth-placed Hoddesdon Town, which is followed by a possible top-of-the-table clash with Kentish Town on Wednesday night.

Attfield said: "The Hoddesdon match is a big game for us, but not crucial. It's still very tight, and only a few points separate the top six. I've never seen anything like it before so the next two games are going to be very interesting.

"Being at the top gives us a new challenge. Before, we were chasing to get there, now we have to stay there. Having got to the top I don't want to lose it straight away, it's a nice challenge to be given. But with 30 points still to play for, this league is going to go right down to the wire.

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