Hoenes sparkles in league hammering of AFC Rushden & Diamonds
- Credit: Archant
Rhys Hoenes’ outstanding hat-trick helped the Crows boost their automatic promotion hopes at high-flying Diamonds.
With a tough run of games against second-placed Chalfont St Peter and St Ives Town, currently third, to come in December, Royston knew they could not afford to lose and they came up with the perfect repost in the face of adversity.
In a highly watchable game of football despite the poor conditions, both sets of players got to grips with their surroundings but it was the hosts who acclimatised the better as they took the lead.
A lively surge up the right by Lewis Leslie allowed him to put over a high cross that was caught in the wind and evaded the leap and swipe of Ron Yates as it swirled viciously and dropped in the goal.
Then a home penalty shout was waved away by the referee with offender Tommy Berwick booked for diving.
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The latter parts of the first half were mainly Royston gaining confidence on the ball and they should have been level at the break.
Ryan Ingrey’s 10-yard shot flashed across Matt Finlay’s crossbar and away from danger.
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A stern half-time team talk geed up the visitors and they found an equaliser two minutes into the second half.
Skipper Scott Bridges retrieved a loose cross with an overhead kick to find the arriving Jack Bradshaw who placed a perfect volley from the edge of the box past the sprawling Finlay.
Substitute Reece Dobson had a great chance to announce his return when set up brilliantly by Ingrey, but the striker’s rusty finish went wide of the post
Dobson may have disappointed but Hoenes was up to the task as he brutally savaged Diamonds and stole all the points for Town.
Firstly, he punished a hesitant defence on 67 minutes as he seized a half chance eagerly and smashed an excellent firm strike across the keeper and in.
Four minutes later, Hoenes had found his stride, picking up wide and cutting in dangerously before curling a precise shot low into the far corner.
The home side were beaten and had no answers for this brand of speedy, incisive and penetrative football being shown by their visitors and the Crows confidence was tangible.
Hoenes capped a fantastic second half with his third goal, turning expertly and placing an accurate shot into the far corner.
Next up for the rampant Crows, a crunch home league match with Chalfont St Peter this Saturday. Kick-off 3pm.