Super Royston Town set up Dulwich Hamlet FA Trophy clash after disposing of National League South side Hampton & Richmond
PUBLISHED: 23:50 06 December 2016 | UPDATED: 23:59 06 December 2016
Skipper Scott Bridges popped up with two priceless second-half strikes to fire Royston Town into the FA Trophy first round proper for the first time in their history after a famous 2-1 replay victory over Vanarama National League South side Hampton & Richmond at Garden Walk tonight (Tuesday).
Royston battled courageously all evening but their chances of progression were reduced in the 32nd minute as the visitors drew first blood.
Portsmouth-bound forward Jamal Lowe, who will join the League Two club next month after agreeing terms earlier this season, found himself in the right place at the right time to convert from close range after good wing-work from Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick.
Hampton, currently two divisions and 41 places above Royston, kept that lead until midway through the second period.
Josh Castiglione was tripped inside the area and Bridges lashed the resultant spot-kick beyond keeper Charlie Grainger for 1-1.
Moments later the south-west Londoners almost regained the lead. However, Brendan Kiernan’s 20-yard free-kick was superbly tipped over the bar by the impressive Joe Welch.
The Crows weren’t done there and when substitute Ryan Towner barged his way to the byline and picked out the outstanding Bridges 12 yards from goal there was only one place the ball was heading. An empathic finish put the majority of the 198-strong crowd into raptures.
The Beavers tried desperately to gnaw away at Town’s advantage, throwing everything at Steve Castle’s men.
However, the away side found former St Albans City custodian Welch and his dogged backline in inspired form.
Inside the final 10 minutes Nathan Collier had a point-blank header blocked by a home body and moments later Spyros Mentis threw himself at a Hippolyte-Patrick shot.
At the other end, substitute Simon Thomas had a chance to seal the victory but his attempt was smothered by Grainger.
Nevertheless Southern League Division One Central leaders Town survived and will now travel to Ryman League Premier promotion chasers Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday.