Hammond cracker boosts stylish Royston

Royston Town 4 Wembley 0 ROYSTON Town may have started their FA Cup extra preliminary round clash with Wembley as the underdogs. However, following a scintillating performance on Tuesday night, they emerged young lions. It was an impressive display fr

Royston Town 4

Wembley 0

ROYSTON Town may have started their FA Cup extra preliminary round clash with Wembley as the underdogs.

However, following a scintillating performance on Tuesday night, they emerged young lions.

It was an impressive display from The Crows, who were unlucky not to have progressed on Saturday, having looked the better of the two teams in the 1-1 draw at Wembley's Vale Farm.

However, they made no mistake with the replay, and dominated their higher level opponents from start to finish - with their tempo and ability in front of goal too much for the Combined Counties Premier Division side.

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And Saturday's cameras may have long since finished filming, but in Craig Hammond's 51st minute strike onlookers were treated to one of the goals of the competition.

Royston manager Paul Attfield said: "It was a great win and one that I thought was thoroughly deserved.

"Our work rate and pace was extremely high all night, and Wembley really struggled to contain that.

"Saturday's game gave us a lot of confidence and showed that they were very beatable.

"I thought that we should have won that game, and was confident that we could get the result at Garden Walk.

"Two early goals put us in a good position, and the third really killed them off.

"All four goals were very good, but Craig's first had a lot of people talking as it was a great strike.

"I was particularly pleased to see Ryan find the net, because he needed a goal. And his strike was a cracker as well.

"We were ruthless, well-disciplined, and hardworking - which is what I like to see."

The largely impressive Conor De Lacy gave The Crows the perfect start, crashing the ball home with the outside of his right boot after seven minutes, following some clever play by Ryan Lockett.

It was a goal that forced Wembley into a brief offensive, and as a result served Royston's strengths, with the visitors' cumbersome defence growing even more stretched, as Lockett and Luke Robins both had half- chances to extend the lead.

One Wembley attack did lead to a decent penalty claim, when Damion Williamson bundled into Paul Shetton, but the incident was instantly waved away.

But in pulling Wembley to pieces in almost every department, Royston's confidence spread, and Lockett took advantage of the space and time on show by unleashing a powerful strike from the edge of the box for the second with only 15 minutes gone.

And Town should have had more to show from a dominant 30-minute spell, with Lockett forcing one good save from Richard McCabe, before Hammond struck the post following a clever run and pass from Ricky Young.

A nervy opening five minutes in the second half suggested the tie may yet have hope for Wembley with both Shetton and Luke Reed showing signs of promise.

However, the most glorious of finishes soon put paid to that when Hammond met Robins' long floated pass from the left with a breathtaking scissor-kick that left McCabe rooted and the Royston fans and bench jubilant.

Three then became four when Robins and Hammond combined once more, with the latter glancing home the winger's in-swinging corner from the right.

With an hour gone Royston threatened to roll their opponents over, with the Wembley players all but on their way back to North West London.

At one point Wembley's assistant manager George Green jokingly suggested sending two more players onto the field, but even with 13 the outcome would have been the same.

To their credit the visitors held firm, and could well have pulled one back when David Cain upended Shetton in the box. However, the tricky striker was denied a consolation as Williamson parried his low strike with ease.

With 15 minutes to go, Robins almost added another top draw strike when he wasted Shane Sinclair and Ian Bates with a nonchalant turn of pace, however his delicate chip sailed narrowly wide.

Sniffing another Royston hat-trick Hammond almost added a fifth for the hosts when he latched on to another Robins pass, but with the goal in sight he blazed the ball over.

Moments later Hammond was given another chance, racing onto Carl Edwards' intelligent through ball, but again, the talented striker failed to find the target.

Overall, it was an exciting display by Royston, who made what was by no means a bad side look distinctly ordinary.

At 1-0 the visitors were unlucky not have been awarded a penalty, but regardless of that outcome, this was always going to be Royston's night.

For all the positives, at times they were guilty of attempting the Hollywood pass and over-elaboration, but with such a performance in full flow and the spirit of the FA Cup firmly in mind - you couldn't blame them.

Despite being a one-off tie, the formality of the win would suggest Attfield's young side would more than hold their own alongside Wembley in the Combined Counties League.

But for the time being Royston's development continues and a promising FA Cup run now awaits, with a trip to AFC Hayes just over a week away.

The British Gas Business League Division One South side will again start as the favourites, but one thing is for sure The Crows will no longer be seen as easy prey.

Royston Town: Damion Williamson; Lewis Endacott, Jamie Babbage, Allan Reid, David Cain; Conor De Lacy, Carl Edwards, Ricky Young, Luke Robins; Craig Hammond, Ryan Lockett. (Subs): Will Turl, Gregg Jackson, Dean Chaffey.