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Hungerford Town 2 Hitchin Town 3

Saturday, December 7 2013

The Canaries picked up their sixth consecutive victory and third away win on the run with a well deserved three points at in-form Hungerford Town.

Such was the manner of the win that Hitchin fans are starting to cast one eye of the top five rather than the lower reaches of the table. While that may seem a shade over-ambitious, there can be no denying that Mark Burke’s side are playing with a swagger not seen for some time around Fishponds Road.

On the sticky pitch, Hitchin took an early lead, Matt Lench firing home at the far post after a very suspect Hungerford defence failed to clear the ball from a cross.

It didn’t take long for the home team to equalize, Dan Webb bringing down Dean Stow and Mark Draycott outwitting Hitchin goalkeeper Tahj Bell from the penalty spot.

On the half hour, Hitchin regained the lead when Simon Martin headed into the net after Callum Donnelly’s cross was nodded on by Stuart Pearson. Again, Hungerford came back and a long range shot from Dean Stow gave Bell no chance from outside the area.

Four minutes into the second half, Hitchin went in front once more, Martin at the far post again, this time heading a Donnelly corner into the net from close range.

From then on, Hitchin were rarely troubled, although Bell pulled off a decent save from troublesome Hungerford centre forward Stefan Brown’s overhead kick. Hitchin’s travelling band, which swelled the crowd to 117, spent much of the latter stages braying for penalty kicks, although in truth only one of the four appeals warranted any emotion.

There was much to admire in Hitchin’s young team – central defenders Webb and Pearson were excellent at the back and Simon Martin had arguably his best game in a Hitchin shirt. Hungerford made a lame excuse that they were distracted by a forthcoming FA Trophy tie with Leek, but perhaps they should do what Hitchin are doing – taking one game at a time.

Strudley, Horgan, Legg, Boardman, Day, Brewer, Stow, Herring, Brown, Draycott (Goodger 60), O’Brien (Gray 60)

Bell, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Barker, Webb, Pearson, McGeorge, Donnelly, Martin (Wharton 90), Forsythe (Jones 80), Lench (King 90)

Report by Neil Jensen

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