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Burnham 1 Hitchin Town 0

Tuesday, January 14 2014

This really was a miserable night in Burnham. Persistent rain turned the pitch in to a soggy morass with good football virtually impossible and to make matters worse Hitchin produced their worst league performance of the season. Just to cap the misery the referee Aaron Moody put in a totally unacceptable display that saw ten bookings and a sending off in a game that hardly had a bad tackle. Both teams intend to report the referee who from an early stage wanted to be the dominant figure in the game and made no allowance for the appalling conditions whatsoever. His display was even worse than that of the referee at the recent Cambridge City game and that is saying something.

However the incompetence of the referee in no way excuses Hitchin playing so poorly on the night. After a bright opening it went downhill very quickly and after Ryan Blake punished sloppy defending after 10 minutes to put Burnham ahead at no stage did Hitchin really look like saving the game. It was so unlike the more typical performances seen from the Canaries and the defence played like they were strangers while the passing was totally astray and up front there really was a lack of penetration. Simon Martin has been badly missed and his return will be a real boost as the ball has not been held up well enough in his absence.

Burnham are on a good run and they have now won six and drawn one of their last eight games. Their pace up front was a real threat and but for three excellent saves by Tahj Bell Hitchin could have been out of the game by half time.

The second half was slightly better for Hitchin and they went three at the back after Josh Bickerstaff had to be replaced at half time by Michael King. But in reality there were very few chances created and the nearest to a goal remained a Stuart Pearson header just over the bar in the first half. Only Bell cold be said to have performed well and Mark Burke was far from happy with the performance.

Although he did not affect the result the referee totally ruined what was not a good game in the first place. Not one person in the pitifully small crowd could make sense of how he handed out yellow cards like confetti and you had to feel sympathy for the players from both sides as any type of tackle carried the risk of a caution even if the ball was won. Burnham in no way deserved four yellows and Hitchin certainly did not deserve six. Poor Matt Lench was somehow sent off for two cautions both of which were ridiculous and players and spectators could only look on bemused as Mr Moody stayed centre stage right up to the final whistle.

So a game to forget as quickly as possible and a much better performance will be demanded by the management on Saturday as this was just not good enough. A referee able to let the game flow would be most welcome too.

Hitchin: Bell, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Barker, Webb, Pearson, McGeorge, Donnelly, Lench, Forsythe, Jones.  Subs  King for Bickerstaff 46, Wharton for Jones 77, Burtenshaw, Gregson for McGeorge 66, Izeidi.

Burnham: Watkins, Togwell, John, Page, Baddeley, Upward, Driver, Sear, Charles Smith, Blake, Crouch. Subs Malloy, Baddeley, Boultwood, Webb for Couch 71, Kebamba for Charles Smith 82

Hitchin bookings: Rolfe, Pearson, Donnelly, King, McGeorge, Lench x2

Attendance 125

Roy Izzard                       

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