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Atherstone Town 1 Hitchin Town 3

Saturday, January 22 2011

Atherstone v HitchinHitchin travelled back 40 years to a time when football was played in all conditions. “The pitch, the pitch, look at the pitch,” was the cry from some supporters, but had they forgotten that back in the day, football was always played on gluepot pitches – especially in January?

So, on a muddy field in the Midlands, in a stadium that looked every bit the old fashioned ground, Hitchin made it 24 without defeat. Atherstone even had the audacity to open the scoring, but they were soon made to regret it.

Hitchin fans are waiting for a banana skin to emerge, and for a while, it looked like Sheepy Road would deliver it. But as a huge flock of starlings dived and swooped in the background, the Canaries took flight and ended up comfortable winners.

Atherstone could have been two-down inside nine minutes when John Frendo (into the side-netting) and Ieuan Lewis (a header wide) missed gilt-edged chances. But let-off as they were, they silenced the Hitchin contingent in the 10th minute with a goal from Simeon Smith.

Smith, a useful and leggy striker, almost scored again when he broke free of the Hitchin defence, but this time, goalkeeper Martin Bennett blocked his effort.

The Canaries drew level on 26 minutes, Zak Burke firing into the roof of the net after good work by Richard Howell and John Frendo. Burke was on the scoresheet six minutes later, driving low into the net from 20 yards after another good build-up.  Burke almost added another goal when his shot was cleared off the line by a defender.

Ten minutes after the break, Hitchin scored their third goal with a spectacular volley from  Louis Lee, expertly set up by Mark Smith.

Hitchin camped in the Atherstone half, although their flowing moves suggested they were far from “stick in the muds”.  The home side gradually tired and if Callum Donnelly’s shot had not taken a deflection it may have found the net rather than the woodwork. Likewise, better luck would have given Burke a hat-trick on more than one occasion. But no one was complaining – 3-1 was just rewards for another good afternoon’s work.

Statistics

Atherstone Town (1)1 Hitchin Town (2)3

Smith 10                   Burke 26, 32
                                           
                                Lee 55

Attendance: 153
Referee: S.Huthinson

Atherstone Town

Hitchin Town
Courtney Belford
1
Martin Bennett
Todd Perry
2
Tony Fontenelle
Thomas Weale
3
Tom Pepper
Chris Milner
4
Dean Gilbert
Adam Wood (y 14)
5
Mark Smith
James Ruff
6
Louis Lee
Martin Crawford
7
Richard Howell (*83 Luke Gregson)
Tyron Amory
8
Callum Donnelly
Simeon Smith
9
Zak Burke
Nathanial Weeke (*80 Oliver Babington)
10
John Frendo (*61 Jamie Arlick)
Robbie Banks
11
Ieuan Lewis
Dale Belford
s
Jamie Arlick (*61)
Chris Sockett
s
Luke Gregson (*83)
Oliver Babington (*80)
s
John Wordsworth
Ryan Scott
s
Danny Payne
Kyle King
s
Ryan Haggerty




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