Towner on target as Royston Town pick up valuable three points at Hanwell Town
PUBLISHED: 10:26 18 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:27 18 January 2016
Ryan Towner's 61st minute strike was enough to secure a third successive Southern League Divison One Central victory at Hanwell Town and keep Royston Town in the promotion hunt.
With games being called off left, right and centre due to the weather, it took a late approval by the match referee to get this game on as the pitch was soggy and sticky in places. Thus, the quality of play suffered because of this - but credit to the Hanwell ground staff for getting it playable in the first place and avoiding the need for a Tuesday night postponement.
The available Royston squad was down on numbers for various reasons, with suspensions and injuries taking their toll, and more recently Joe De La Salle was unfortunately involved in a serious car accident and the whole club wish him well with his recuperation.
The volume went up in the defensive area as Liam McDevitt made his full return after an injury lay-off, partnering the impressive Daniel Brathwaite at centre back.
It was a scrappy, unattractive game that lacked any real fluidity and quality - but it certainly did not lack commitment and determination from both sides and with a solitary second half goal settling it the home side were never out of getting something.
The first half was mainly the Crows working hard to create goal chances but these were few and far between as the pitch condition, coupled with some dogged home side defending, kept shots on goal to a premium, despite numerous corner routines. The only notable chance was a toe-poked effort from Jack Bradshaw on 23 minutes.
Hanwell weren’t without their own threat and should have gone ahead on 40 minutes when Danilson Vincente was presented with a tap-in following a smart save by Ron Yates but blasted the ball wastefully over the bar as a big let off for their visitors.
The second half saw a more defined approach from Royston early on and Hanwell found themselves pinned in their own half up to the hour mark.
It was this sustained pressing that eventually broke their opponents down and with goalkeeper Martin Herdman half punching away a high ball in – under challenge from Rob Mason - it fell invitingly to the well-placed Towner who connected firmly with a sharp, left-foot half volley that flew in past the semi-stranded defence and keeper.
This sole strike was enough to settle this game and despite Royston pressing for a second with boss Steve Castle changing the frontline. Fresh-legged Reece Dobson and Luke Robins replaced the more industrious and effective Mason and Ryan Ingrey.
Ball retention became a issue for the visitors in the final 10 minutes allowing Hanwell to gain a foothold and opportunity to push Royston.
However, Town averted any late scares to confirm the three points.