Former Blueboy sinks Hatfield
Matt Standen scores winner against former club
Royston Town 1-0 Hatfield Town
THIS, on paper, was never going to be an easy game for the Crows. Having to build on the high expectations of a victory at league champions Chalfont St Peter on Tuesday evening and holding onto the current second placed position by goal difference over Tring Athletic heaped considerable pressure.
Added to that the fact a number of ex-Hatfield Town players now ply their trade with the Crows after a mid-season exodus from the Blueboys.
The game was frantic and scrappy but packed with effort with one genuine moment of quality in the second half proving vital for Royston’s continued pursuit for the second placed berth with just two games remaining.
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Hatfield gave a sterling performance in the first half against a Royston side that attempted to take the game to their opponents but were denied space and time on the ball in all areas of the pitch.
Hatfield had a trio of half chances that all fell into Jorden Gibson’s clutches and some needless free kicks Royston gave away also came to nothing.
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At the other end the Crows were completely void of clear chances until just before half time when Paul Klein broke free of the right full back but was denied by the onrushing keeper’s block.
They looked more threatening from set plays with David Cain having the best chance when a combination of full length dive and post kept out a downwards header from a Ryan Lockett free kick.
A change of formation and a double half time substitution with the inclusion of Tom Malins and Rhys Lawrence gave the home side natural width and this helped to open up the visiting ranks.
Hatfield now had to endure some decent home pressure and the pace of the first half looked like it would take its toll at some point with increasing tired legs evident.
Lockett fizzed a decent half volley effort from 20 yards straight at the ‘keeper and also had a more than decent penalty shout after being pulled back in the area by the ‘keeper after a rare mistake from the visiting custodian.
The one moment of genuine quality arrived on 71 minutes with a neat move down the right ending with Lockett crossing for Matt Standen to head home from eight yards at the near post. The ex-Hatfield Town forward enjoyed his scoring moment adding to his superb strike at Chalfont on Tuesday.
Malins was unlucky not to add another shortly after when he raced into the area but smashed his shot against the foot of the post.
Royston Town: Gibson, Endacott, Apostolos (Bradshaw), Cain, McGrandles, Martin Standen, Edwards (Malins), Collins, Matt Standen, Lockett, Klein (Lawrence).