Royston Town’s promotion hopes rocked by Rams-raid

Hoenes on the ball

Hoenes on the ball - Credit: Archant

The sizeable home faithful were helpless witnesses of a painful false dawn as they endured another disappointing afternoon of ultimate surrender of three winnable home points at Garden Walk on Saturday.

With new signing Simon Thomas on the bench, Royston looked to keep their promotion hopes alive with another three points but their superb opponents were in no mood to oblige.

Rams’ keeper, Anthony Ender, produced a fine reflex save to deny Ryan Ingrey early on, his firm effort deflecting goalward off a defender’s head.

After another close shave for the visitors, the home side did get the lead in the 23rd minute. An ill-judged tackle sent Rhys Hoenes sprawling and the referee cried foul and penalty.

Skipper Jack Bradshaw did the business again sending a good spot kick past the diving Ender.

Petersfield regained parity on 30 minutes when, with Chris Watters drawn into a central position, a long lateral ball eluded Daniel Brathwaite’s last-ditch leap and striker Joseph Briggs did really well to pick the ball up and finish with precision.

Despite re-grouping at the break, the Crows were still ponderous and having allowed Petersfield to scrape Ron Yates’ post, they snuck ahead moments later.

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Lewis Hyde rose highest to head a right-hand corner into the net.

On the hour mark Castle had seen enough and looked to change the frontline with a double substitution removing Ingrey and Dobson from the match and replacing them with Luke Robins and debutant Thomas.

Castle made his last change on 68 minutes taking off midfielder Ryan Towner and allowing top scorer Rob Mason to enter the fray and he made his introduction count. Seizing onto Danny May’s dangerous free-kick, he blasted home from two yards.

Petersfield struck back almost immediately and on 74 minutes a loose left-wing ball was not given due care and David Jerrard who delivered the punitive header for the winner.

Royston pushed for an equaliser of their own and with 10 minutes to go Watters stroked a sublime free-kick to the top corner, only to see Ender produce the save of the game, diving full length and tipping it over the bar.

The Crows were denied a leveller as a Thomas central header had crossed the line on 83 minutes but neither referee or linesman approved the goal.

That was to be the final action of a pulsating, but frustrating, clash.