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St.Neots Town 2 Hitchin Town 3

Tuesday, August 21 2012

Six points and six goals. Who would have believed that injury and suspension hit Hitchin would be joint top of the table after two games? And winning at newly promoted and hotly fancied St.Neots in their excellent new stadium made it all the sweeter.

It was achieved in a game that was a good advertisement for non-league football, providing plenty of excitement for the 390 crowd. St.Neots, with their gung-ho go-for-goal style, will win friends in their debut Premier Division season, but they may need to tighten up at the back.

A draw would have been a fair result, so Hitchin can count themselves lucky to come away from Rowley Park with three points.

They got off to a perfect start thanks to Daniel Delderfield, who shot home from close range in the fifth minute from Tony Fontenelle’s cross his first shot had been parried just seconds earlier.

Five minutes later, Delderfield was the “horseman riding by” as a headed back pass from a defender ran his way. He controlled the ball and drove low past Mark Duggan from 10 yards.

St.Neots’ pace caused Hitchin problems and in the 17th minute, Dan Jacob struck the bar, then seconds later, Charlie Dove shot just wide.

Callum Donnelly almost added a third for Hitchin when he tried to round the goalkeeper, but St.Neots central defender Jordan Gent intercepted amid appeals for a penalty.

The Hitchin support, which numbered over 100, spent much of the first period baying for a spot-kick, but none came, despite a string of debatable incidents.

St.Neots pulled a goal back, though, on 26 minutes, Callum Stewart’s low shot taking a wicked deflection and finding the back of the net.

Before the interval, Donnelly went close to restoring Hitchin’s two goal advantage, but his shot was saved by Duggan.

The St.Neots keeper was beaten again, however, in the 50th minute, Fontenelle ending a good run with a shot from outside the area with his unfavoured left foot.

The goal was a huge blow for the home side, but they came again, forcing Martin Bennett into a superb double save. They pulled a goal back in the 61st minute with a real humdinger of a striker from Stewart.

The goalscoring opportunities continued at both ends, with Hitchin denied twice in a matter of seconds by Duggan, firstly from Donnelly and then a header from Delderfield that was tipped over the bar.

In the latter stages, St.Neots applied more pressure and Bennett saved with his feet from substitute Ed Ajie. Hitchin’s luck was clearly in right up to the final whistle as a goalmouth scramble saw former Aston Villa striker Stefan Moore and Adjie just fail to get their shots in.

(* with apologies to author R.F. Delderfield)


Statistics

St.Neots Town (1)2 Hitchin Town (2)3

0-1 Delderfield 5 mins
0-2 Delderfield 10 mins
1-2 Stewart 26 mins 

1-3 Fontenelle 50 mins
2-3 Stewart 61 mins


Attendance: 390



St.Neots: Duggan, Duncliffe, Rogers, Stewart, Gent (Felix 83), Lee, Hilliard, Dove (Adjie 60), Moore, Mackey, Jacob 
Subs not used: Sharman, Colmer, Managu


Hitchin: Bennett, Webb, Leach, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee (Beckett 90), Fontenelle, Gregson, Donnelly, Delderfield, Burke
Subs not used: Bickerstaff, Islam, Hickey, Toomey



Referee: C.Francis

Assistants: D.Pwywell, P.McVey



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