We lost it at their place says Royston Town boss Castle after FA Trophy replay loss to Dulwich Hamlet

Royston Town manager Steve Castle.

Royston Town manager Steve Castle. - Credit: Archant

Steve Castle believes Royston Town’s chances of shocking Ryman League Premier side Dulwich Hamlet and progressing in the FA Trophy were lost with his side’s late capitulation in the initial tie on Saturday.

The Crows threw away a two-goal lead in the final 25 minutes at Champion Hill to draw 2-2 in the first-round clash leading to a replay at Garden Walk on Tuesday night.

Town, currently second in Southern League Division One Central, battled courageously for most of the encounter against a side who sit one league above them but Nyren Clunis’ 86th-minute volley sealed a 1-0 win for the Londoners and manager Castle had mixed emotions after the tie.

Castle told the Crow: “To be 2-1 up with 10 minutes to play [on Saturday] and not win was extremely disappointing.

“We could have done things slightly different but they’re a very good, quick team, especially up front.

“We pressed them hard in the first game over at their place and we knew we couldn’t do that for another 90 minutes so we had to soak up the pressure and we almost did but just couldn’t quite hold out.

“We couldn’t get into second and third gear in the second half due perhaps to the tough 90 minutes on Saturday and the work we had already done in the first half of this one.

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“The few chances they [Dulwich] made were top-drawer and they need to be to get past Joe Welch and it was.”

He added: “I’m disappointed but the priority was always going to be the league and not to say we would have gone through any more rounds in the FA Trophy but had you got involved in a few more, three league games in hand [on league leaders Farnborough] might have been six and we don’t want that come the end of the season.”

Ninth-placed Ashford Town (Middlesex) are up next for Royston at Garden Walk on Saturday with Castle wary of the threat the Robert Parker Stadium side will pose.

He continued: “They’ll be a useful team.

“I’d imagine they’ll be one of the top five or six in this division come the end of the season.

“We don’t take anything for granted and if we can go about it with as much enthusiasm and attitude as we did against Dulwich then we should get the result.”