Royston Town close gap on league leaders Kettering

Royston celebrate Hammond's goal v Leighton

Royston celebrate Hammond's goal v Leighton - Credit: Archant

Goals from Craig Hammond and Kaan Fehmi ensured Royston Town kept up the pressure at the top end of the Southern League Division One Central.

With league leaders Kettering Town losing 3-2 away at Marlow, and previous second-placed team Potters Bar Town going down 1-0 at Uxbridge, Royston now sit second, two points behind the Poppies.

A scrappy first quarter of an hour was brightened with some composed centre-half play from George Powell, making his full starting debut in place of the suspended Ryan Wharton.

The youngster remained cool, calm and collected throughout the whole match, working intelligently with his veteran partner Dave Theobald.

Leighton had their first real chance on goal 20 minutes in when Chris Crook headed just wide.

Winger Reece Dobson’s ball at feet tricks and speed caused Michael Lyon problems and two yellow cards were picked up by the right-back in relatively quick succession seeing him dismissed from the pitch in the 40th minute.

The half finished goalless; both teams probed and prodded but with no real conviction in front of goal.

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The home team had the better chances in the early stages of the second half with Lewis Endacott coming into the game.

Firstly he supplied a good cross for a Fehmi header that was easily caught and then a long drive from the attack minded full-back found Leighton keeper Dan Green sufficiently alert to stop comfortably.

Returning from injury, striker Gary Hart replaced Spyros Mentis and the experimental 4-3-3 formation morphed back to a more familiar 4-4-2. The breakthrough came when Fehmi’s cross was slotted home from nine yards by frontman Hammond.

Leighton nearly responded immediately. From a corner, Claude Seanla’s well-met header bounced over the bar for a let off for the Crows.

Crows keeper Paul Bastock kept his side ahead in the 80th minute with a good stop and then an excellently timed chase out and gather to see off the visitor’s chance to equalise.

The game was settled beyond doubt when in the 93rd minute a volleyed back pass was caught by Green and the resulting indirect 13 yard free-kick was placed perfectly in the bottom corner by the composed Fehmi.