Hitchin Town grabbed a deserved victory over Royston Town with a goal deep into stoppage time at Top Field.

They had dominated the second period but it looked as if their chance had gone, with two shots hitting the crossbar in the space of couple of seconds seemingly summing things up.

But with three minutes added time almost up, a corner from the right was played deep beyond the back post.

It was put back into the middle with a header and from almost under the crossbar, Toby Syme nodded into the corner.

Hitchin had dominated the second 45 after an even first half that Royston, if anyone, had probably shaded.

And while neither side have anything to play for in the Southern League Premier Division Central, the roar that greeted the winner proved that local pride was more than a decent prize.

Both clubs made four changes from their last outings, Hitchin's being a 2-1 loss at Redditch United.

In came Bradley Bell, Lewis Barker, Diogo Freitas-Gouveia and Jack Snelus while Kye Tearle, Josh Allen, Ashley Hay and Kav Cotter moved to the bench.

Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Ronnie Henry, Charlie Castle and Shomari Barnwell were the Royston changes from the 1-0 loss at Mickleover.

Kian Harness, Kyjuon Marsh-Brown, Hall and Fernando Bell-Toxtle made way.

The spring sunshine lifted everyone's spirits and the game started with promise, especially for Royston who looked sharp.

Bateman was leading that charge and he was presented with his first chance by a bit of lax defending from Ciaren Jones.

The Hitchin man had dallied on the ball inside his own box before putting a poor clearance straight to the Crows' danger man.

Bateman shifted it onto his left foot but pulled his low effort across goal and just wide.

The Royston top scorer was then played in behind by a chip over the top by Castle.

He tried to knock it over Charlie Horlock but the goalkeeper was able to push it up with a jump.

Bateman though got to the rebound but as his header was bout to cross the line, Toby Syme produced a sensational clearance from under his own bar.

Hitchin did come out of their shell a bit after that.

A low free-kick from Freitas-Gouveia almost caught everyone out but the shot ended up pinging off bodies and going behind for a goal-kick.

A poor first-touch from Bell prevented a shot on goal and Layne Eadie skewed an optimistic attempt well wide of the target.

Finley Wilkinson had the best opportunity, chesting down a curved ball towards the area but sending his effort wide as the keeper came out.

Dimi Kyriatzis must have been getting bored as the half started to drift aimlessly towards the interval, the Royston stopper coming 35 yards out of his goal to clear a ball.

He didn't do much of a good job on that but as Freitas-Gouveia's eyes lit up, the keeper redemeed himself with a good sliding challenge.

The second period certainly did not start in the start fashion and Hitchin were very unlucky not to get themselves in front.

Freitas-Gouveia lashed one over and then Daniel Idiakhoa sent a drive just past the post.

The frame of the goal then denied Hitchin twice in the same move.

First Jack Snelus sent an effort of the crossbar and the ball ran loose to him in the box.

And it then came straight out to Josh Coldicott-Stevens who leathered it back off the underside of the woodwork.

The poor start from the Crows prompted a double sub from Steve Castle, to try and stem the flow but while it had a little bit of an impact, the shots were still coming from the home players.

A Wilkinson header was put straight at the keeper who then had a moment of panic when he called for a header back from Cole DaSilva.

He got it, only then realising he had strayed a yard out of his area and couldn't handle it.

A scrambled clearance spared his blushes.

And twice in the final few minutes, the Canaries almost grabbed a winner.

The first came after another awful set-piece, one of many skimmed in low across the turf.

This free-kick clipped off the one-man wall, and Idiakhoa gave himself the chance to shoot with a clever turn.

The keeper saved it at the near post.

Freitas-Gouveia then squandered a two-on-one chance by not passing to Wilkinson and that was seemingly that.

Nobody told Syme though.


Hitchin Town: Horlock, Bell (Tearle 75), Eadie, Syme, Jones, Barker, Freitas-Gouveia, Coldicott-Stevens, Snelus, Idiakhoa, Wilkinson.

Subs (not used): Allen, Hay, Gleeson, Cotter.

Goal: Syme 90+3


Royston Town: Kyriatzis, Dasilva, Brighton, Asafu-Adjaye (Harness 56), Murray, Henry, Castle (Newman 66), Hoddle, Bateman, Williams, Barnwell (Marsh-Brown 56).

Subs (not used): Rotimi, Bell-Toxtle.

Booked: Murray 27, DaSilva 74


HT: Hitchin Town 0 Royston Town 0

Attendance: 834