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St Albans City 1 Hitchin Town 2

Monday, March 17 2014

Michael King was the two goal hero as Hitchin came from behind to beat St Albans and clinch a place in the Herts Charity Cup final where they will face Bishops Stortford on a date to be arranged. It was another good performance by the Canaries as St Albans played a very strong side with their squad hardly changed from Saturday’s league game and with John Frendo leading their attack. For Hitchin Garry Jones was injured and Mitchell Bryant had finished his loan spell so Dan Webb played in the back three and Josh Bickerstaff moved in to the midfield five with Simon Martin partnering King up front.

Hitchin did not make a great start to the game and were lacking the energy displayed at St Neots with the ball being given away cheaply  and 50/50 balls being lost. Howard Hall shot over the bar after two minutes and Tahj Bell showed some excellent handling from crosses. Charlie Smith shot just wide for Hitchin but St Albans were on the front foot even after having to replace Elliot Bailey with Chris Henry after 17 minutes.

James Kaloczi headed wide after a well worked corner before St Albans took the lead through a brilliant free kick from Hall that smashed past Bell after 29 minutes from just outside the penalty area.. Frendo shot wide soon after before Hitchin equalized after 41 minutes. It was another quality goal that started with Webb making a great tackle deep in Hitchin’s half. He found Smith who  produced an exquisite pass to set King free and he produced a great finish.

This was the turning point of the game as Hitchin then got better as the game went on and were back to the style of football they have been producing on a regular basis. Alasan Ann was replaced by Lewis Rolfe for the second half as Bickerstaff dropped back  to defence  and Hitchin made the perfect start to the half with a second goal on 49 minutes. A good pass from Callum Donnelly fed King who again produced a quality finish. It has been a common theme this season for Hitchin to fight back in games and this was another example.

King nearly completed his hat trick before Donnelly was booked. Frendo seemed a forlorn figure never really getting the service he needed although he had a shot deflected wide after 73 minutes. Hitchin were defending well and looking dangerous and Gary Wharton added pace to the attack when he came on and he came close after 85 minutes. Hitchin were relatively comfortable but the referee caused a nervous end by finding 4 minutes 33 seconds of injury time.

So another excellent win and with the reward of a cup final. Hitchin still have plenty to play for as they chase down a top ten finish and a County Cup double and the quality of the football continues to impress. Once again the Hitchin fans turned out in good numbers although the attendance of 137 meant few St Albans fans took advantage of the reduced admission prices.

Hitchin  Bell, Webb, Bickerstaff, Barker, Ann, Pearson, Smith, Donnelly, Martin, King, Lench  Subs  Rolfe for Ann 46, Wharton for Martin 81, Burtenshaw, Corran, McKenzie-Lowe

St Albans  Bastock, Hall, Chappell,Corcoran, Ward, Kaloczi,Watters, Green, Bailey, Frendo, Dean,  Subs  Gilbert, Henry for Bailey 17,Keenleyside for Corcoran 74, Marwa for Green 46, Tewkesbury

Hitchin  Donnelly

St Albans  Chappell and Ward

Roy Izzard

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