Lamacraft strike gives Royston three points

Royston edge victory on a horrendous pitch at Hertingfordbury Park

Hertford 0

Royston Town 1

A FIRST half Glen Lamacraft strike was enough to give Royston all three points away at Hertford Town on Tuesday night.

The fact the match was even started by the referee seemed a minor miracle as the playing surface looked more like something you’d expect pigs to enjoy rolling around in due to heavy rain shortly before kick off.

But despite the poor conditions both teams served up a surprisingly entertaining game that contained plenty of decent football on the deck.

Royston started the game on the front foot as Hertford struggled to contend with the near swamp-like pitch and Paul Attfield’s side probably should have taken the lead in the opening 15 minutes, but speculative efforts from Bobby Dance never threatened the Hertford goal.

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They did find the breakthrough on 22 minutes, though, when a low ball into the box from Jack Bradshaw was only partially cleared by the Blues defender and the loose ball was tapped into the bottom corner from eight yards by the onrushing Lamacraft.

It was no less than Royston deserved as the home side offered extremely little in terms of attack throughout the first half.

Dance was seeing plenty of the ball in and around the opposing box and he was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet, firstly with a deft chip from the edge of the area and then a first time volley from 25 yards that flew over the crossbar.

Right-back Bradshaw also came close to adding a second with a bursting run and shot that skidded inches wide of former Crows ‘keeper Lee Robinson’s right-hand post.

Hertford came out looking like a different side after half time and they looked far more confident on the ball and with their passing. Before the break they had relied largely on playing hopeful long balls which largely played into the hands of centre-back pairing David Cain and skipper John McGrandles.

Crows ‘keeper Luke Howard was certainly the busier of the two in the second half and he showed great decision making and bravery on a number of occasions to thwart Hertford who had plenty of opportunities to find the leveller.

It was also their lack of composure in front of goal that let them down despite some excellent build-up play around the box.

Although Royston were pegged back in their own half for large periods, they always looked dangerous on the counter-attack, with the pace of Ricky Young, in particular, providing a good outlet to put pressure back on the home side.

And it was from one such breakaway that Royston came within a whisker of putting the game beyond doubt with 10 minutes left on the clock. Rhys Lawrence broke into space on the left wing before feeding Ryan Lockett inside the box who saw his curling effort from 15 yards cannon back off the face of the crossbar.

And it looked like they would be made to pay for that miss a minute later when McGrandles gave away a penalty. A Hertford striker was put clean through on goal only for McGrandles to track back superbly and win the ball back. However, the former Hatfield man then inexplicably lost possession before needlessly fouling his opponent in the box. But, thankfully for him and his teammates, the Hertford captain blazed over the bar from 12 yards.

The match turned into an end-to-end affair until the final whistle and Royston had two great chances to wrap up the points with breakaways from Young but the pacy striker was unable to find the net, much to the frustration of Attfield on the sidelines.

It didn’t matter in the end, though, as Royston held on for a satisfactory away victory at Hertingfordbury Park.

Royston Town: Howard, Bradshaw (Grinham 45), Cain, McGrandles (c), Apostolos, Lockett (Endacott 85), Edwards, Lamacraft, Lawrence, Dance, Young.