Southern League Premier Division Central
Isaac Galliford 37, Matt Bateman 69
Royston Town listen to the boss to claim derby win over Hitchin Town
- Credit: PETER ELSE
Manager Steve Castle wanted a response from Royston Town to the defeat on Saturday and he got it - with a derby success away to Hitchin Town.
The 3-2 reverse against Rushall Olympic had left the Crows boss less than impressed with his team's fighting spirit but goals from Isaac Galliford and Matt Bateman eased them to a deserved 2-0 win at Top Field.
The home side too had suffered defeat two days earlier, losing 3-1 away to Banbury United, but despite an excellent attendance for the bank holiday Southern League Premier Division Central clash, they couldn't prevent an increasingly confident Royston from dominating most of the game.
Both teams came into it wanting to win but both also showed a desire not to lose in the early going, the opening passages being cagey and tentative and littered with poor deliveries from set-pieces.
Corners and free-kicks were easily cleared or overhit by both teams as chances remained at a minimum.
Hitchin probably had the best of them in the space of 60 seconds.
Alex Marsh's first chance was deflected behind and while the corner was hit right across the field, the cross from the next phase was headed wide by Callum Stead.
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Bateman flicked a cross over the top in the Crows best chance but it didn't look like a goal would come.
It did less than a minute after the first decent delivery from a corner, taken by James Brighton, was headed across goal and wide by Spyros Mentis.
Royston won it straight back though through Isa Rotimi and a beautifully-weighted ball across the box from Brandon Adams was knocked in first time at the back post by Galliford.
It sparked a good finish for the away team.
Brighton drove a snap-shot on target, Charlie Horlock making an old-school diving save where he hung on to the ball, and Adam Murray headed across after a good cross from Rotimi, the skipper having more time than he realised.
The game though was still finely balanced and Hitchin showed they could still have a say in the final outcome and it was Stead who created it.
He put Joe Welch under pressure to the point the keeper screwed his clearance straight to Luke Brown.
However, the shot lacked power and the former St Albans City stopper recovered to catch the lob.
There was a visible spring in the step for Royston though after the goal and in spite of the half-time break and they put a lot of pressure on the home defence.
Galliford had shot deflected behind and then one blocked and there was another block from a thump by Mentis.
The former Canary then had a deflected shot form the right, this one requiring Horlock to stick a hand up while on the floor and claw it away.
But it was always looking like a second Royston goal would come and as it prove a point, it came from a set-piece and it was proof that when you do the simple things correctly, good things happen.
Brighton delivered it from the left to the edge of the six-yard box where Bateman was running towards, across the defence, to power a header to the right of the keeper.
Bateman and Harry Draper, another former Hitchin player, forced Horlock into saves as they both went across the keeper from left to right.
Hitchin did rally late on and it could have been an interesting finish had Henry Snee's break down the right and pull back to Stead ended with the ball in the net.
Instead there was just frustration for the hosts and joy for the travelling Crows army.
Hitchin Town: Horlock, Akubuine (Jones 68), A.Brown, Smith, L.Marsh, Furlong, A.Marsh (Coldicott-Stevens 79), Tearle, Stead, L.Brown (Snee 79), Black.
Subs (not used): Dasilva, Georgiou.
Booked: A.Marsh 68, Black 89
Royston Town: Welch, Asafu-Adjaye, Bridges, A.Murray, Titchmarsh (M.Murray 62), Adams, Bateman, Galliford (Draper 67), Brighton, Rotimi, Mentis (Newton 55).
Subs (not used): F.Brown, Towner.
Goals: Galliford 37, Bateman 69
Booked: Mentis 26, Titchmarsh 53, Newton 74, M.Murray 77, Welch 89
HT: Hitchin Town 0 Royston Town 1
Referee: George Warren