Herts Charity Shield win for Royston
Leverstock Green 4 Royston Town 5 A CRAIG Hammond hat-trick saw Royston Town to victory in their first competitive game of the season on Saturday. And The Crows once again highlighted their attacking threat by seeing off South Midlands Premier Division
Leverstock Green 4 Royston Town 5
A CRAIG Hammond hat-trick saw Royston Town to victory in their first competitive game of the season on Saturday.
And The Crows once again highlighted their attacking threat by seeing off South Midlands Premier Division side Leverstock Green in the first round of the Herts Charity Shield.
However, as impressive as their forward play was, their defending was somewhat called into question, with Royston 1-0 down after just seven minutes courtesy of James Armstrong's deflected finish.
Undeterred, Town bounced back with Hammond drawing the visitors' level, crashing home a powerful strike from outside the box following Luke Robins' rolled pass.
A spell of frustration followed for Royston though, as chances and opportunities went begging, however with just over 10 minutes of the first half remaining Hammond made the difference once more, roasting centre-back Jamie Parsons before chipping the ball over the advancing Graeme Milner.
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Moments later Hammond made it 3-1 and grabbed another Royston hat-trick, leaving Parsons in his wake once more before calmly rounding Milner.
However, manager Paul Attfield was given a half time headache when he was forced to withdraw the lively Conor De Lacy with an injured a knee, with Hammond also taken off as a result of another late tackle.
Following the changes, the hosts were soon back in contention with David Parkinson and Armstrong both finding the target as Green pulled back to 3-3 inside the opening 10 minutes.
Will Turl and substitute Arron Welch both had chances to restore The Crows' lead, however Royston were forced to wait with Ross Collins making the breakthrough following some clever play from Ricky Young.
Four became five, when Welch rose above two Leverstock defenders to head past Milner, with Royston back firmly in the driving seat. However, Adam Hallissey made it a nervous end for Town, when his low shot had Jordan Gibson well beaten with five minutes to go.
Green threatened with two late set pieces, despite having Daniel Griggs sent off for dissent, but Royston kept their composure and assured a deserved victory.
The Crows now face a difficult trip to Premier Division side Oxhey Jets in the second round.
Attfield said: "It was good to go through, but we were very naïve in defence and that cost us a few goals. It's something we will definitely be looking to improve upon in the next couple of friendly games."
Goalscorer, Hammond added: "Overall I thought it was a good win, especially when you consider they play in the league above - where I think they'll finish in the top.
"Personally it was also good to get myself on the scoresheet having going a couple of games without a goal, so hopefully I can continue on from here."
Royston Town: Gibson; Stephens, Debnam, Cain, Endacott; Edwards, De Lacy (Welch), Malins (Young); Hammond (Collins), Turl, Robins.
The Crows were also involved in a friendly fixture at Haringey Borough on Saturday, the team that pipped them to Premier Division promotion. A strong Royston side, that contained club captain Allan Reid ran out convincing 3-1 winners with Mark Wright (2) and Liam Beaumont on target.