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Wingate & Finchley 2 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, October 19 2013

This was the proverbial game of two halves, a real Jekyll and Hyde performance from Hitchin that saw a totally dominant first 45 minutes followed by an insipid second half showing. But the first half did see Hitchin back to their early season form as they combined slick purposeful passing with excellent pressing when Wingate had the ball. It was no coincidence that Hitchin were able to field their full strength side for the first time since the opening day of the season with Simon Martin and Michael Noone both fit to start. A 2-0 half time lead was scant reward for Hitchin's dominance as chances were regularly created. The impressive Robbie Burns scored both goals, the first following an excellent move, Callum Donnelly fed Jamal Lowe who delivered a perfect cross for Burns to rise above the defenders to head home after 20 minutes. The second goal was a really clever chip from Burns from the right edge of the box giving the keeper no chance after 31 minutes.
Earlier Stuart Pearson was very unlucky as his header hit the post after a Noone corner while Lowe produced a good shot soon after. Burns again and Donnelly also came close and the Hitchin fans who made up more than half of the crowd did not want the first half to end. But for some reason everything changed after the break with Wingate now on the front foot and they were back in the game after 52 minutes as a speculative cross cum shot from full back Ola Williams sailed in to the top corner. The cohesion of the first half seemed to be absent as Hitchin never really got going and Wingate searched for the equaliser. Leon Smith missed a great chance and Tahj Bell saved a Josh Kennet shot while Hitchin created few chances.
It was no real surprise when the equaliser came with a penalty in the 91st minute stroked home by Spencer McCall to earn a replay on Monday night at Top Field. So it was more frustration for Hitchin but if they can reproduce the fluent football of the first half a place in the next round of the F A Trophy can be achieved. However it needs that elusive consistency to be found as soon as possible.
Team  Bell, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Noone, Webb, Pearson, McGeorge, Donnelly, Martin, Burns, Lowe, Subs King, Barker, Lench for McGeorge 86, Wharton for Martin 79, Hullman.

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