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Hitchin Town 0 Stevenage 5

Saturday, July 27 2013

On a hot afternoon when most of the crowd were waiting for a deluge of rain, our neighbours from Stevenage treated those present to a deluge of goals and left the home side with nothing to show for their efforts save a few pounds lost in sweat.

Graham Westley brought with him a strong team and a respectable following of fans, contributing to a healthy enough gate of 330, the majority of whom would have gone home happy with the afternoon’s work. In truth Hitchin could have no complaints about the five nil score line, it was fully merited and achieved with an effective mix of power and poise. Attractive flowing football that the Canaries, still attempting to fit together a coherent side, just could not compete with.

Stevenage’s early dominance went unrewarded –  the defenders restricting the visitors to long shots that bothered nobody and ended in the jungle behind the Bedford Road terrace. As for Hitchin our first attempt was in the 22nd minute when Frater had a long distance blast following a set up after Mc George had been fouled.

Shortly afterwards the stalemate was ended –  a powerful 24th minute strike from Danni Lopez went in off the post after he was given a little bit more room than, in hindsight was wise. No chance for Bell in the Hitchin goal who had looked tidy up to that point.
Ryan Charles and Robbie Burns combined well to give Hitchin a brief glimmer of hope before half time, but the former’s shot went high and wide and Stevenage continued to dominate and threaten on and off until the break (half time, rather than drinks).

Three minutes after the restart and Stevenage went further ahead, Deacon breaking into the left hand side of the box and sweetly planting the ball across Hulman (who had come on at half time) into the far side of the net.

In the 52nd minute a corner for Hitchin raised the home side’s hope for a moment or two but Webb could only half hit his effort and when the ball fell to McGeorge’s his attempt fared no better.

It wasn’t long before the score line became a bit more representative of Stevenage’s domination and first Shroot took his chance well in the 58th minute, whilst Danni Lopez finished well three minutes afterwards. Burrow hit the post in the 70th for Stevenage and Lopez completed his hat trick with the pick of the goals on 77 minutes to wind up the scoring.

Overall, it was a disappointing afternoon for Hitchin fans when the biggest cheer was for the replacement Assistant Referee Lennie Leroux, a Hitchin official, who had filled in for a last minute absentee. I suspect Len will have slept well on Saturday given that the last time he “did the line” was some 15 years ago.

Still early days and Mark Burke’s side will not have to face many sides this year with the attributes of this Stevenage team.

Report by Mick Docking

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