Gallery: Hammond to the double
Royston Town 2 Hatfield Town 2 ROYSTON bounced back from their surprise midweek defeat at mid-table Tokyngton Manor with an excellent victory over Hatfield Town in front of the largest crowd seen at Garden Walk this season. Prolific striker Craig Hammond
Royston Town 2 Hatfield Town 2
ROYSTON bounced back from their surprise midweek defeat at mid-table Tokyngton Manor with an excellent victory over Hatfield Town in front of the largest crowd seen at Garden Walk this season.
Prolific striker Craig Hammond scored both second half goals as the 139 spectators were treated to a fast, exciting game of football with both sides fighting tooth and nail for the valuable three points.
Hatfield played a full part in this game and were probably the better team in possession of the ball in the first half, and they also had a worthwhile shout for a penalty turned down within just three minutes after Lewis Endacott seemed to foul one of their lively forwards but the otherwise excellent referee Mr Henry turned away their appeals.
Royston were always rushed when in possession of the ball and found it difficult to create any clear chances but they played with great enthusiasm as crucial battles were fought in all areas.
Paul Attfield's side almost took the lead out of nothing when an audacious lob from 40 yards from Hammond just cleared the crossbar on 18 minutes and three minutes later Ricky Young's great work and cross saw Hammond head against the top of the crossbar with the keeper flapping at thin air.
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Hatfield conjured up a couple of long range efforts that never troubled the home goal but were unlucky not to take a half time slender lead when an angled 20 yard strike flew across the face of goal and came back into play off the far post.
The game remained finely balanced at the interval but within seconds of the restart some static defending allowed a Hatfield forward in on goal but the lively Jorden Gibson raced from goal to block the one on one chance away for a corner.
This seemed to galvanise the home side as they went on to dominate the next 30 minutes with some efficient crisp football.
On 52 minutes an excellent Ryan Lockett corner was met by Arron Welch whose bulleted near post header smashed an upright.
This left the visitors rocking and they finally caved in on 56 minutes when Ricky Young completely bamboozled the full back on the right before flighting in a sublime cross which Hammond headed home after his initial effort had been scrambled off the line.
Hatfield threw players forward, but doing so left gaps in the middle of the park which allowed Royston to find more space in midfield with Arron Welch and Carl Edwards outstanding.
Hammond wrapped up the game with 15 minutes remaining when he beat the offside trap to lob into the empty net from 25 yards.
Ricky Young nearly added a last minute goal, latching onto a defensive slip but hesitated too long allowing the keeper to recover and block the shot with an outstretched arm.
Paul Attfield said: "Overall this was a superb team performance. I actually think this was the best game of football I have seen at Garden Walk this season and I was genuinely so impressed with the reaction from the players after Tuesday's defeat against the toughest of opposition today.
"We always felt the first goal would be massively crucial and after scoring it could have won the game more emphatically in the end. Most importantly it stretches our lead over Hatfield to 15 points and that is a big margin at this time of the season."
Royston: Gibson, Endacott, Apostolos, Babbage, Cain, Welch, Edwards, Malins, Hammond, Lockett (Robins), Young. Subs: Tibballs, Morriss, Stephens, Barlow