Hitchin Town lose for first time in four games as Royston jump up the table

Marcus Goldbourne of Hitchin Town had a free-kick saved inthe first minute against Royston Town. Picture: DANNY LOO

Marcus Goldbourne of Hitchin Town had a free-kick saved inthe first minute against Royston Town. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Hitchin Town’s micro-run of success came to an end with a 2-0 derby defeat at home to Royston Town.

The score was exactly the same as the winning margin over Bromsgrove Sporting on Saturday, a result that had made it three games unbeaten and placed the Canaries on the verge of the Southern League Premier Division Central play-offs.

However, two second-half goals, one from Brandon Adams and the other from Isa Rotimi, meant it was Royston who are now embarking on a positive run.

The Crows had started the league campaign with five draws and a defeat but this second successive victory, their first of the season, has suddenly catapulted them up the table.

The first-half was an even affair, with both sides scrapping to create openings.

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Marcus Gouldbourne had a free-kick saved by Joe Welch in the very first minute while an Adams effort was gathered by Charlie Horlock.

Defences were generally on top though, with a number of well-judged defensive headers from both teams.

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Route one looked the attacking method of choice and it almost brought an opening goal for Lewis Barker, Welch though again made the save.

At the other end James Brighton shot wide and Jonathan Edwards had an effort blocked but the half ended without goals.

But very slowly the visitors started to take control and it eventually bore fruit on 65 minutes, Adams opening the scoring with a neat flick.

The goal seemed to dent the Hitchin resolve and with both benches being emptied as the teams looked to fresh legs, a free-kick on the right found Rotimi in the middle to make it 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining.

The hope of the majority of the capped 600-strong crowd was that Hitchin would provide a grandstand finish but in truth it looked like Royston would get the third as they launched dangerous-looking counter-attacks.

There was a good run by Gouldbourne but his pass to Callum Stead was hit way over the bar, something Isaac Galliford did for Royston, while Dan Newton had an effort go wide.

But that was it and both teams will now turn their attentions to the FA Trophy, Hitchin’s tie at home to Herne Bay of the Isthmian League Division One South on Saturday.

Hitchin Town: Horlock, Akubine, Eadie, Smith (Webb 77), Okoye-Aheneku, L.Marsh, A.Marsh, Barker, Stead, Brown (Cawley 70), Gouldbourne.

Subs (not used): Dasilva, Caldicott-Stevens, Tearle.

Booked: Eadie, Goldbourne, Barker.

Royston Town: Welch, Asafu-Adjaye, Newton, Rotimi, Scott-Morriss, Brighton, Green (Castiglione), Murray (Newman), Edwards (Williams), Galliford, Adams.

Goals: Adams 65, Rotimi 75.

Booked Newton, Edwards.

HT: Hitchin Town 0 Royston Town 0

Attendance: 600

Referee: Josh Crofts (St Neots)

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