Royston Town A win play-off trophy for first time in 64 years
ROYSTON TOWN ‘A’ lifted the BIS Kershaw Division Two play-off trophy on Thursday night – 64 years after they last won it back in 1947.
Despite finding themselves two goals behind to Chatteris in the second half, strikes from Scott Crosk, Lee Bates and Ben Cooper gave Royston a superb victory and a deserved promotion.
Royston started well against a competitive and strong Chatteris side with both teams having efforts on goal. Ian Green, ever commanding in the Royston goal, had a sticky start but soon got back into his outstanding form that he has shown throughout the season.
Chances were few and far between in a first half which ended goalless, and one which gave little indication of the excitement that was to follow after the interval.
Chatteris took the lead in the 55th minute against the run of play with a low drive into the bottom corner before they doubled their advantage just five minutes later from the penalty spot following a foul by Pete Hodgeson.
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Despite the match looking all but over, Royston upped their game and were offered a glimmer of hope when Crosk reduced the arrears with a cool finish with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Royston continued to pressure their opponents and the equaliser arrived with seven minutes remaining when substitute Bates curled a sublime right-footed effort into the top left-hand corner.
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From there on in there only looked to be one winner and with just seconds remaining, Cooper stepped up to make himself a hero with a last-gasp winner to seal promotion for Royston.
The winger, who had endured a frustrating evening on the right wing, raced down the channel before cutting inside and taking on three defenders and slotting past the Chatteris goalkeeper.
It was a dramatic victory for Royston when just 20 minutes earlier their hopes of promotion looked to be dead in the water.
Manager Graham Hagger spoke of his joy after the final whistle, saying: “It was one of the most exciting games that I’ve been involved in for along time. We played very well and in the end our fitness paid off.
“I would like to thank our substitutes that travelled with us who didn’t get on Ben Bowles, Lee Hunter and the injured Sam Bowles.”