Hednesford set off on the 120 mile trip to Royston, a town situated on the Greenwich Meridian in North Hertfordshire, on the back of four straight defeats but were unlucky to return home with nothing as a late goal won the game for the hosts.
Royston, who had only lost one league game in 2020 to league leaders Tamworth, named an unchanged team from their 3-0 win over Biggleswade while Hednesford welcomed Andy Wycherley, Callam Mendez-Jones, Rhys Thompson and Jed Davies back to the club.
Hednesford had the wind at their backs and kicked down the slope in the first half with Danny Glover and Dan Sweeney on the end of some robust challenges early on. Sweeney saw his header cleared off the line following a corner before there were a couple of contentious offside decisions against Osebi Abadaki and Sweeney. The Crows came more into the game after this, forcing a succession of corners which were easily dealt with by Andy Wycherley. Wycherley’s long kicks were being carried on the wind, one of which went out for a goal kick at the Royston end as Hednesford looked to regain a foothold in the game. Rhys Thompson was fouled but the free kick was straight at the Royston ‘keeper, Joe Welch. The home custodian punched a corner clear just after and Elliot Hodge’s shot poleaxed a home defender. The referee stopped play and, on the re-start, inexplicably gave the ball back to the goalkeeper despite the visitors having possession. Royston forced a couple of free kicks which again were easily defended before Hednesford won a free kick of their own which was fired narrowly into the side netting by Ben O’Hanlon. A flurry of corners for the home side ended the half with neither goalkeeper being seriously troubled.
At the start of the second half Royston replaced Watkins with Asafu-Adjaye but it was Hednesford who threatened first, Sweeney managing to back-heel the ball goal-wards despite being crowded out by defenders. Scott-Morriss was booked for what looked like an elbow on Jack Hallahan and on 65 minutes Danny Glover followed him into the book for a foul on Asafu-Ajaye. Four minutes later Royston made their second substitution, Ofusu coming on for Adams and the home side had their best period of the half, Mendez-Jones making a good block for a corner which went straight out on the wind before Scott-Morriss shot well wide. With 10 minutes to go, Royston made their final change, Martin replacing Green but it was Hednesford who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Sweeney’s shot was tipped over by Welch. Warner-Eley was shown a yellow card for another foul on the dangerous Sweeney and in the 85th minute Jed Davies replaced Elliot Hodge for Hednesford. In the final minute Davies was brought down on the edge of the Royston box but the referee disagreed and waved play on, Royston broke and won a free kick of their own for a similar challenge. Eley-Warner stepped up and fired home an unstoppable shot into the top corner to give the home side an undeserved win.
Royston Town: Welch, Scott-Morriss, Warner-Eley, Bridges, Parr, Brathwaite, Castiglione, Watkins (Asafu-Adjaye), Adams (Ofosu), Bateman, Green (Martin).
Subs (not used): Brighton, Smart
Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Griffiths, O’Hanlon, Bailey (Capt), Mendez-Jones, Hallahan, Hodge (Davies), Thompson, Glover, Sweeney, Abadaki .
Subs (not used): Hewlett, Gatter, Reid, Veiga.