Hitchin Town put their recent defeats at the hands of Kings Lynn and Farnborough behind them to score an encouraging 1-0 win against high-flying Redditch.
The game was highlighted by Jonny McNamara’s winning goal just after the break. This was worthy of winning any game as the winger got past defender Gowan Stares before unleashing a shot that flew over keeper Ethan Ross. The keeper was marginally off his line but McNamara judged his shot perfectly and it dipped just under the crossbar.
Hitchin welcomed back skipper Dan Webb and midfielder Jay Dowie from injury as well as McNamara against Redditch, managed by ex-Premiership star Darren Byfield.
Both teams set off at a frantic pace, while trying to keep the ball on the ground to counter the blustery conditions, but Hitchin had the best chance of the first period on 8 minutes. A neat pass by Lucas Kirkpatrick found McNamara in front of goal. He tried to curl his shot around Ross but also went agonisingly wide of the post.
Redditch were lively in attack with their full backs pushing on and Monteiro and Thanoj trying to set up prolific front men Dior Angus and Spencer Weir-Daley. However they could not fashion a decisive effort on goal although Canary keeper Michael Johnson was called into action to cut out a number of through balls and crosses.
Webb headed over from a Hitchin corner and Kirkpatrick and Charlie Smith also had efforts wide but the deadlock remained unbroken at the interval. However once McNamara had scored in the 48th minute, Hitchin grew in confidence and he nearly doubled the lead four minutes later with a powerful drive that Ross did well to push away.
Johnson kept Hitchin in the game just after the hour with a good save from an Angus overhead kick, while the striker shot wide from a tight angle after a mix-up between the keeper and Webb.
Connor Vincent – on for Brett Donnelly – had a flicked effort cleared off the line and then set up fellow substitute Elliot Bailey for a snapshot that Ross hurried to turn away.
Hitchin had to soak up late pressure, with Johnson saving well from Monteiro, but the hosts had the final chance when they broke after a Redditch corner. Vincent did well to shield the ball and free the third substitute Jack Green who left two defenders in his wake as he ran half the length of the pitch. Having done so much hard work he then placed his shot just wide but it did not affect the result as the Canaries held on for a hard fought victory.
The Canaries now meet last season’s play off rivals Merthyr Town at Top Field this Saturday, kick off 3pm.
Hitchin Town – Johnson, Cotter, Walster, Dowie, Webb, Bickerstaff, Kirkpatrick (Bailey), Rolfe, Donnelly (Vincent), McNamara, Smith (Green); subs not used – Bennett, Brooks
Redditch United – Ross, Wright, Fox, Mailancol, Stares (Hussain), Pendley, Apostolopolous, Monteiro, Angus, Thanoj, Weir-Daley; subs not used – Amenku, Belmonte, Billingham, Simpson
Hitchin – Donnelly, Vincent
Hitchin – McNamara (48)
Attendance – 318