Royston’s promotion dreams dashed at Rickmansworth

Rickmansworth 2 Royston 2 ROYSTON S promotion hopes were dashed on Saturday after a disappointing draw at Rickmansworth. The visiting side began the match strongly and after long spells of attacking took the lead with a goal from Nick Hurd. Roy

Rickmansworth 2 Royston 2

ROYSTON'S promotion hopes were dashed on Saturday after a disappointing draw at Rickmansworth.

The visiting side began the match strongly and after long spells of attacking took the lead with a goal from Nick Hurd.

Royston dominated most of the possession but failed to extend their advantage, which was cut when Rickmansworth got an equaliser late in the first half.

After the break Royston continued to push forward, and although possession was more evenly spread, it was the visitors that created the best chances to score.

The advantage was restored when Owen Russell finished well under pressure, but yet again the home side pulled a goal back from a short corner.

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Towards the end, Royston won many short corners and created three or four more scoring chances, but failed to finish them.

Royston II 2 Rickmansworth II 1

REVENGE proved sweet for Royston against a Rickmansworth side who had hammered them 8-1 earlier in the season.

The hosts rose to the challenge in the first half and with good ball speed and accurate passing forced their opponents onto the back foot.

Royston took the lead with a fine finish from Chris Watson, but were unable to capitalise on this and missed several chances to increase the lead.

Rickmansworth continued to work hard and managed to penetrate the solid home sides defence in the second quarter and converted a penalty stroke which was awarded for a foot denying a certain goal.

With the game in the balance Rickmansworth started the second half the stronger but again found it difficult to create chances against the well organised home defence.

As the half progressed Royston started to benefit from the visitors mistakes and they again started to create chances.

With just five minutes remaining and the Rickmansworth defence looking like it would deny the home sides push for the vital win, Michael Hill found himself unmarked in the right hand side of the D and drove towards goal finishing calmly to give the home side a hard earned victory.

Royston III 5 Berkhamsted VI 0

ROYSTON continued their push for promotion and gained the three points they need to keep the pressure on leaders Vauxhall.

The same side that has won their last three games started well, and the movement of the front three caused confusion as each player switched every 12 minutes in the first half and Royston gained a two-goal advantage at the break.

How fortunes change. When Royston travelled to Berkhamstead in the autumn they could not beat this very same keeper, but this time the set pieces worked, after Bloomfield had taken his first short corner and nearly missed the far post.

At his second attempt the ball injected by Polge was slipped right to Bateman and the pass flicked in by centre half Simon Campbell.

The second was a typical Royston goal. Having bullied the visitors' midfield into losing possession, Sam Polge drove into the D and instead of shooting calmly drew the keeper for Parsons to slot home from close range.

Goals three and four went to Paul Bloomfield, taking his tally to 22 for the season, were easy.

The first was a chip over the advancing keeper, and the second a well executed move after Brunt and Yow had interchanged passes down the left wing.

Yow delivered a flat cross along the dead ball line for Bloomfield to slide his shot in front of the advancing keeper.

Royston still had chances, gaining a further goal from a solo effort from Polge when he took the keeper on and slipped it under his body, before going off injured.

Letchworth V 0 Royston IV 2

ROYSTON kept their promotion hopes alive with a good win at Letchworth.

The visitors started well and enjoyed more of the procession and territorial advantage for much of the first half.

The right hand side combination of Stephen Priest, Perry Noble and Carl Taylor linked well to put the Letchworth defence under pressure.

Royston deservedly took the lead through Andrew Simmons, but although going close on numerous occasions failed to extend this lead before half-time.

Letchworth played much better in the second half and were able exert considerable pressure on the Royston defence, but the visitors clinched victory when George Moffat finished brilliantly from a quickly taken free hit.

This win takes Royston into second position in the league, but it is very close for the runner-up position and a win in the last game against the league champions Harpenden is needed to guarantee finishing in the top three.

Hertford IV 1 Royston V 1

RICHARD Bowen gave Royston a share of the spoils with a late goal, on Saturday.

Royston settled into some good flowing hockey from the start with some well-worked moves building from the back, but they were unable to make the breakthrough.

The second half saw Royston go off the boil for a short time allowing Hertford to open the scoring.

However, the visitors found their form again though and once again looked in control of the match and after a shot that came off the Hertford keeper's helmet, Bowen put Royston level with an excellent reverse stick goal.