This was a game that will not linger for long in the memory. The conditions were difficult as the pitch was still hard from the earlier frost and was very bumpy, while there was a strong wind and low sun. It meant it was very difficult to play any passing football and the game was consequently very scrappy.
Hitchin were still without the injured Josh Bickerstaff while Hugo Logan came in for Connor Vincent who was on the bench. Hitchin got off to the worst possible start conceding a soft goal after just four minutes. A free kick was cheaply given away and to compound matters was poorly defended giving central defender Guri Demuria the chance to volley home with the outside of his foot for his first goal for Basingstoke.
Hitchin were playing against the wind and found it hard to get going. Michael Johnson made a good save from Ben Wright’s free kick before Dan Webb had the best chance of the first half. Charlie Smith delivered an excellent free kick which Webb headed straight at goalkeeper Colm McAdden when if he could have put it either side he would probably have scored.
Brett Donnelly had to come off after 38 minutes to be replaced by Vincent. Soon after Sam Argent missed a gilt edged chance for Basingstoke having been set up by Wright while Johnson made another good save from George Bennett before half time.
Trey Charles replaced the injured Jonny McNamara for the second half and with the wind now at their backs Hitchin produced an improved performance in the second half. Robbie Burns was thwarted by a good save from McAdden on the hour mark as Hitchin became the dominant team. Basingstoke seemed content to sit back and protect their lead and did not offer a great threat.
Elliot Bailey made a welcome return when he replaced Logan after 63 minutes. Hitchin were lacking any great penetration although Charles saw a close range shot smothered by McAdden. Hitchin remained in the ascendancy but the equaliser proved elusive and they were made to pay for conceding that early goal.
Hitchin are suffering a goal scoring drought at the moment and in their last eleven games since scoring six against Kings Langley they have failed to score on six occasions. Confidence remains quite fragile but this was a game where Hitchin could easily have gained some reward from a Basingstoke side that have only lost two games at home all season.
Basingstoke Town – McAdden, Wohlfiel, Bayliss, Kennedy, Demuria, Hollamby, Collier, Bennett, Wright, Argent, McKnight; Subs – Goater, Bunting for Wright 75, Long.
Hitchin Town – Johnson, Cotter, Walster, Smith, Webb, Rolfe, Kirkpatrick, McNamara, Donnelly, Burns, Logan; Subs – Vincent for Donnelly 38, Charles for McNamara 46, Byrne, Syme, Bailey for Logan 63.
Scorer Basingstoke Town – Demuria 4 minutes
Basingstoke Town -Argent
Hitchin Town – Webb, Cotter, Charles, Kirkpatrick