Late penalty boost for Royston
London Colney 1 Royston Town 2 LUKE Robins scored a controversial late penalty winner as Royston Town came from behind to defeat London Colney on Tuesday evening. Crows striker Craig Hammond broke through the home defence three minutes from time before h
London Colney 1 Royston Town 2
LUKE Robins scored a controversial late penalty winner as Royston Town came from behind to defeat London Colney on Tuesday evening.
Crows' striker Craig Hammond broke through the home defence three minutes from time before he was bundled over on the edge of the area.
The referee originally signalled a direct free-kick, but after consulting his assistant he changed his mind and awarded Royston a penalty.
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The home side were furious, but Robins kept his cool and smashed his spot kick into the top left corner to seal victory for Royston.
The win stretched the Crows' unbeaten run to eight matches this season, and lifted them up to third in the league table.
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On a blustery evening at Cotlandswick Playing Fields, Royston started the match brightly, and a stinging shot from Robins drew a save from London Colney's goalkeeper after 13 minutes.
Then, four minutes later, Hammond planted a header from Michael Debnam's cross past a post.
The Crows kept pressing and almost took the lead a minute later, but Hammond's volley from Robins' cross was parried smartly by the home keeper.
Royston continued to create chances and London Colney, despite being at home, were forced to play a counter-attacking game.
Indeed, the home side had to wait until the 43rd minute for their first real effort on goal, a shot which flashed wide of Jordan Gibson's post.
But neither side could find a breakthrough, and the teams went into the interval locked at 0-0.
After the break, London Colney upped their work rate, and began to stretch Royston's defence more.
First, Gibson tipped a free-kick over the bar and then, after some hesitant defending, London Colney's Sam Mitchell broke into the box and smashed a powerful right-foot shot past the Royston keeper after 77 minutes.
Crows manager Paul Attfield reacted by making two substitutions, Lockett and De Lacy being replaced by Young and Edwards.
To their credit, Royston did not let their heads drop, and drew level six minutes later, Ross Collins rising above the defence to head home Tom Malins' cross.
The equaliser gave the Crows a lift, and they continued to press London Colney, with Robins having the last word from the spot.
Of the penalty award, Crows manager Paul Attfield said: "It was quite a way from where I was, but it did look like a foul.
"The linesman was well-positioned, and from what the players have said to me, the penalty was probably the correct decision."
Attfield admitted that London Colney's work-rate took him "a little by surprise".
"Out of the five league games we have played they were the strongest opposition," he said.
"We battled well but they matched us in most areas of the pitch."
And of his own team's performance, Attfield said: "Sometimes when you are not at your best, you have to win in an ugly way.
"In the second half it was a case of rolling up our sleeves, and in the end it was a very good three points.
"I was delighted how we turned the game around - last season we probably wouldn't have won a game like that."
Royston's next league match is against Stony Stratford Town at Garden Walk on Saturday.
Royston: Gibson, Endacott, Debnam, Cain, Reid (c), De Lacy, Collins, Malins, Hammond, Lockett, Robins
Substitutes: Welch, Edwards, Young.