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Hitchin Town 1 Chesham United 2

Monday, February 24 2014

Football can be a very cruel game and Hitchin's defeat in the 90th minute as Chesham struck a late late killer blow all too readily  confirmed this to be the case. Defeat was really hard to take as Hitchin again showed their resilience to fight back after a whirlwind Chesham start that could have blown them away. Instead they fought their way back in to the game and in the second half were equally likely to take the three points even though they also had to overcome injuries to two of the back three.

The start of the game was dominated by a Chesham team looking every bit the title challengers they are and they played some excellent football and denied Hitchin any time on the ball. Lewis Rolfe had an early chance blocked before  the impressive Dave Fotheringham shot over the bar and then Tahj Bell made an excellent save from James Potton. A Chesham goal was coming but the manner in which it came was very disappointing as it resulted from a Hitchin corner that was quickly cleared and Chesham broke at pace. Rolfe committed himself and Potton skipped clear to cross for Drew Roberts to score after 21 minutes.

Roberts and Chris Dillon are probably the best striking partnership in the league and Hitchin defended really well to keep them at bay as they held firm. Then in the 41st minute Hitchin equalized with a brilliant goal. Sam Barker provided a superb pass to Callum Donnelly who produced a stunning shot just inside the post.

For the second half Josh Bickerstaff had to replace the injured Dan Webb in the back three and in a further blow Alasan Ann also had to be replaced with Michael King coming on after 66 minutes. But Hitchin were not put off their stride by these disappointments and gradually began to get on top. Simon Martin had nearly put Hitchin in front when his header from Donnelly's cross was pushed on to the woodwork by Shane Gore. The game was really absorbing with plenty of good football unlike the dire Bideford match.

Both teams looked for the win and there were two bookings for each side as tensions rose. Chesham used all three subs while Kim Forsythe had to replace the limping Donnelly for Hitchin.

It seemed the game was destined to finish as a draw which would probably have been fair over the whole game but fate intervened on 90 minutes when Stuart Pearson slipped and this enabled Dillon to pounce and snatch a winning goal. Pearson had been excellent and did not deserve such bad luck.

Mark Burke can be proud of this performance against a team with a big budget but which was also prepared to work incredibly hard. It is another learning curve for Mark's young squad but the experience being gained will be very valuable come next season.

Teams

Hitchin: Bell, Rolfe, Ann, Barker, Webb, Pearson, Smith, Donelly, Martin, Bryant, Jones.  Subs  Forsythe for Donnelly 83, Bickerstaff for Webb 46, King for Ann 66, Wharton, McKenzie-Lowe

Chesham: Gore, Kyriacou, Braithwaite, Stewart, Purse, Thomas, Fotheringham, Potton, Dillon, Roberts, Wilson  Subs Little for Potton 73, Hamilton, Wales for Fotheringham 73, Goss for Braithwaite 79, Brown.

Attendance 243

Bookings:  Hitchin  Rolfe and Bryant  Chesham  Purse and Fotheringham

Roy Izzard 



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