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Hitchin Town 3 Redditch United 0

Saturday, August 18 2012

Hitchin recorded their best ever Southern League Premier opening day win in  disposing of a disappointing Redditch United side in sub-tropical conditions.

Both teams couldn’t fail to put plenty of sweat into this game but the blistering heat was pretty hard work for spectators, too. Of the two sides, Redditch  have the most to worry about and may have headed back to the Midlands anticipating a long, hard campaign.

With key men missing
from their line-up, Hitchin’s new faces such as Daniel Webb, Daniel Delderfield, Kyle Lincoln and Jack Beckett were industrious all afternoon.

Delderfield had two early chances, a shot on the run that was deflected for a corner and another effort over the bar, before Redditch’s Charisma Agbonlahor missed an open goal in the 16th minute. Then Hitchin keeper prevented Agbonlahor from getting on the scoresheet in the 32nd minute when he tipped the ball over the bar from a close range shot.

Hitchin took the lead three minutes later when Dean Gilbert headed home from a Callum Donnelly free kick. Shortly afterwards, a left foot drive by Redditch wide man Jack Cresswell struck a post.

Hitchin extended their lead on 48 minutes, the Redditch defence and goalkeeper were slow to react to a through-ball and defender Kyle Lincoln sent a tame shot low past Redditch keeper Niall Cooper.

There could have been another midway through the half when veteran midfielder Tony Fontenelle went on a characteristic run but ran out of steam on the edge of the area and his shot lacked energy.

Not surprising, the heat sapped the energy of almost everyone in the second half, but Hitchin found fresh impetus in the closing stages and in the final minute the impressive Luke Gregson raced onto a Burke pass and saw his shot saved by Cooper, but followed up to shoot into the net for the third goal.

Gregson, who had run up and down the field like a springbok, fully deserved his man of the match award.

A good result and solid performance by the Canaries, but Carl Williams and his team may have few such comfortable games this season. Redditch are a team in transition, and it showed. But with key men Ieuan Lewis, John Frendo and Lawrie Stewart missing, this was a highly encouraging win.


Hitchin Town (1)3 Redditch United (0)0
1-0 Gilbert 35
2-0 Lincoln 48

3-0 Gregson 90

Attendance: 252

Hitchin: Bennett, Webb, Lincoln, Gilbert, Leach, Lee (Beckett 49), Fontenelle (Islam 75), Gregson, Donnelly (Stewart 89), Delderfield, Burke
Subs not used: Hickey, Bickerstaff

Redditch: Cooper, Hidworth, Quaynor, Clarke, Charlton, McDonald, Price (Richards 67), Deards, Danks (Bridgwater 83), Agbonlahor (Wilding 73), Cresswell
 Subs not used: Stringfellow, Catlow

Referee: B.Holderness

Assistants: J.Llorente and I.Corner

Facts and Figures

The game saw the competitive debut of Ben Islam, who came on as substitute in the 75th minute.

Kyle Lincoln, Islam, Delderfield and Beckett all made their league debuts with the club. Lincoln scoring on his debut.

The attendance of 252 was the lowest for the first home game of the season since August 1998 when 241 saw Hitchin beat Grays 4-0.

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