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Hitchin Town 0 Evesham United 1

Saturday, August 20 2011

Welcome to the Premier. That was the message for Hitchin Town after a frustrating afternoon on which Evesham pulled off a surprise victory at Top Field.


1- Jerome Anderson shot across goal
8- Anderson slips ball through to Zak Burke, shot into side-netting

19- Marcus Palmer rounds Martin Bennett, shoots wide

22- John Frendo turns and shoots wide
47- Good run by Elliott Durrell ends with his shot turned round post by Bennett
66- Durrell’s 30-yard strike beats Bennett in spectacular style 0-1

90- Dean Gilbert heads past post from Corner

90- Louis Lee shot saved by Lewis Skyers

90- Ieuan Lewis crosses, Frendo shot well saved by Skyers

Weather: Wet and dry

Pitch: Slippery

Attendance: 295

 Carl Williams wanted to avoid an “after the Lord Mayor’s show” scenario, but that was exactly what happened. Hitchin played better than their first game at Banbury, where they snatched a late point, but didn’t have much luck in front of goal. This was the type of afternoon that reminded the Top Field crowd that picking up points will not be easy in the Premier Division.

The opening stages suggested that a win was on the cards. Hitchin played with pace,  Jerome Anderson showing some energy on the flank and causing problems for what looked like a leaden-footed Evesham side. Hitchin were generous to Evesham, with early chances going begging – how they were made to pay for their profligacy. 

If Anderson, Burke and Frendo had been a shade more accurate, Evesham would have been on the rack by the interval. But as time ticked by, and Evesham grew in confidence, the visitors were looking a different proposition.

There were warning signs as the second period got underway.  Elliott Durrell, a busy, diminutive character, opened up the Hitchin defence and saw his low shot saved by Martin Bennett. It was Durrell that scored what proved to be the decisive goal on 66 minutes, receiving the ball some 30 yards out and hitting a superb shot that gave Bennett no chance.

Hitchin regained their composure and started to lay siege on the Evesham goal. Their defence, perhaps lacking finesse, looked like a solid wall of defiance, with Wayne Daniel and Steve Luckett holding firm. Hitchin may have had the upper hand in the possession stakes but they found genuine chances hard to forge. Burke’s shot was deflected in the path of Callum Donnelly, but he just failed to connect, and Frendo was unable to meet a knock-on from Dean Gilbert.

It wasn’t until the 90th minute that the real opportunities emerged. Gilbert headed just wide and then Louis Lee’s shot was well gathered by the futuristically-named Lewis Skyers. The Evesham goalkeeper pulled off the save of the game in 90+3, stretching to palm a close range Frendo effort for a corner.

Disappointment? Yes. Lesson’s learned. Undoubtedly. Life with the big boys can be cruel.

The teams

Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Leach, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee, Lewis, Gregson (Donnelly 69), Burke, Frendo, Anderson

Subs not used: Arlick, Edgerley, Williams, Adam
Evesham: Skyers, Fitter, Hyde, Daniel, Luckett, Blake (Woodley 81), McGrath (Spencer 29), Walker, Palmer (Otoba 76), Wilding, Durrell

Subs not used: O'Kelly, Vaughan
Goal: Durrell 66

Referee: L.Wood

Assistants: P.Wilkinson and T.Donnellan

Waitrose man of the match award (as chosen by Matchball sponsor, Steve Barker): Laurie Stewart

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