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Hinckley United 0 Hitchin Town 2

Tuesday, August 20 2013

Hitchin have equalled their best ever Southern League Premier start – two wins in two, with the added bonus of two cleansheets. Not even manager Mark Burke expected that his reshaped team could have opened its account insuch spectacular style.

At Hinckley, Hitchin rarely looked in danger of relinquishing the three points. Perhaps they were fortunate that the home side looked like abunch of strangers, but the Canaries have also gone through a close-season metamorphosis, so that argument could apply to both clubs.

The line-ups were:
Hinckley: Hinds, Moran, Branch (Pickering 63), Towers (Saunders 76), Bryan,Charlton, Degville-Cross (Ford 63), Walters, Richards, Dubidat, Shilton

Hitchin: Bell, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Lench, Ann, Baker, McGeorge, Donnelly,Martin, Burns (Lockhart-Adams 88), Lowe (King 83)

Referee: B.Cooke

Hitchin’s management were under no illusions that the win against Hemel may have been as much down to complacency on the part of the monied visitors, so messages like “keep our feet on the ground”, “45 more games to go” and “get things into perspective” had become something of a mantra since the weekend’s results. But Hitchin only had to wait 35 seconds to maintain the momentum of the Hemel game.

That was when newly-appointed skipper, Callum Donnelly,received the ball on the edge of the area and steered it into the net.

It could have been 2-0 if Robbie Burns ran through but lacked conviction as he approached the penalty area. But Hitchin scored again in the 25th minute, Jamal Lowe calmly netting after the ball had pinged around the area and was finally lined-up by Simon Martin.

Burns had another chance just before half-time, but his hasty chip was wind of Denham Hinds’ goal.

Hinckley’s tame response to Hitchin’s two goal salvo was across by the impressive Daniel Dubidat to the far post that Luke Richards just missed.

The home side started better in the second period, but TahjBell, making his debut, was scarcely troubled in the Hitchin goal for the entire half. Late in the game, however, the woodwork was struck and an effort fromJarrad Pickering was just wide of the target.

As for Hitchin, the heavy lifting had been done in the first period and the half was characterised by a string of offside decisions. Overall,it was a scrappy half, but the travelling contingent from North Herts cared little for that. After a summer of uncertainty and change, a 100% record after two games was better than anyone anticipated.

Numbers game
20: Hitchin fans travelling to Hinckley
25: Minutes of the second goal by Jamal Lowe
30: Time of announcement of vandalised toilet behind the goal
35: Number of seconds of the first goal by Callum Donnelly
75: Miles from Hitchin to Hinckley
246: Attendance

Player watch
The new-look Callum Donnelly was handed the captaincy and he rose to the occasion. Not only did he score the Canaries’ opener in under a minute, but he hurried and scurried all evening and also acted as peacemaker. He kept his calm under pressure and set a good example to his team-mates. Manager Burke may have pulled off a masterstroke in making Donnelly his skipper!

One eye on Chippenham
Chippenham were beaten on Tuesday night, 1-2 at home by Poole, who scored their winner in the 90th minute. The Bluebirds have lost both of their games so far, going down 0-2 at Banbury on Saturday.

Report by Neil Jensen


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