The Generals and the Canaries played out their second goalless stalemate of the season, in a match that will not linger long in the memory.
The result damaged Chesham’s playoff hopes as they threatened during spells but could not convert the half chances that came their way. Hitchin started with a defensive line up but might even have pinched all the points as they played out the final ten minutes with a more attacking formation.
With most of the squad available after the recent postponements – apart from long term absentees Jack Green and Jay Dowie – Mark Burke started with Robbie Burns up front supported by the returning Elliot Bailey and Kavan Cotter.
Much of the early running was made by the hosts, with Dave Pearce and Jhai Dhillon exerting pressure down their left flank and Josh Bickerstaff and Lewis Rolfe making timely challenges. Pearce nearly scored when a long diagonal ball bounced over Jack James. The winger exchanged passes with Adam Watkins but then fired over. Dhillon then got round Cotter and set up Pearce for a low cross that flew tantalisingly across the face of Hitchin’s goal.
For the Canaries, Dan Webb fired over following a early free kick, while Bailey’s shot from an acute angle at least forced keeper Hafed Al-Droubi down to make a save.
At the other end, Michael Johnson had to gather a Pearce effort before the same player curled a free kick wide just before the break.
Half time – Chesham United 0 Hitchin Town 0
The Generals began the second half on the front foot as Shane Bush headed tamely following a free kick before Adam Watkins fired wide. Pearce continued to cause problems when Rolfe ceded possession, only for Lewis Toomey to fluff his chance when well placed.
However Chesham did not put pressure on Johnson in the Hitchin goal and Burke made positive substitutions which saw Connor Vincent and Jonny McNamara join Bailey and Burns up front. Vincent in particular pressured the home defence and his deep cross was met by the head of McNamara although Al-Droubi’s save was a regulation one.
A speculative effort from Vincent flew wide and, as the game entered the fifth minute of stoppage time, Dan Webb nearly stole the points for Hitchin as he got on the end of a rifled cross from Charles. However he failed to get a clean connection and honours finished even.
It was a battling performance from Hitchin and a point was a very fair reward. Unfortunately, Mr Forrester waved eight yellow cards – five for the Canaries. It wasn’t a violent game although it was competitive with a niggly edge to it on occasions. However Lewis Rolfe’s card is likely to mean he misses the BigFreeBet Cup Final.
Full time – Chesham United 0 Hitchin Town 0
Chesham United – Al-Droubi, Crilley, Dhillon, Bevans, Murphy, Locke, Green, Watkins, Bush, Toomey, Pearce; subs – Louis (for Bush), Shamsi (Toomey), Hutton, Swales (Bevan), Hall
Hitchin Town – Johnson, James, Walster, Rolfe, Webb, Bickerstaff, Cotter, Smith, Bailey, Burns, Kirkpatrick; subs – Donnelly, Vincent (Smith), Charles (Bailey), McNamara (Kirkpatrick), Syme
Chesham United – Locke, Bevans
Hitchin Town – Walster, Rolfe, James, Johnson, McNamara
Attendance – 305