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Hitchin Town 3 Bideford 2

Saturday, August 16 2014

Donnelly winner

Hitchin won their first home game of the season on Saturday afternoon, leaving Bideford still pointless in the League.

Hitchin started brightly and immediately looked to attack their opponents. Within the opening five minutes, a Jonny McNamara cross looked promising for an oncoming Matt Lench. The goalkeeper, however, was quick to identify Lench's threat and he rushed off his line to punch clear for a corner.

It was Lench who appeared to be involved in most of the action and he consistently found himself with time and space down the wing. When not attacking, he was quick to get back and take on defensive duties.

Hitchin's dominance came to an abrupt halt in the 17th minute when a Ben Wood cross was met by Sean Downing and the visitors were ahead 1-0.

Canary heartbreak, however, didn't last for long and just two minutes later Brett Donnelly levelled the score.

Minutes later Lench put a dangerous cross across the face of goal but there was nobody there to capitalise on the opportunity. A touch in the right direction would have left the keeper no chance.

Matt Lench, Robbie Burns and Brett Donnelly were an effective trio and quick passing and clever flicks between the three made for some entertaining football.

In the 27th minute Jonny McNamara put the Canaries in front - Burns doing the work by making his way in to the box before seeing his shot blocked. The ball fell to McNamara, who struck the ball off the post and in.

Burns was unlucky not to score in the first-half - his work rate making him deserved of a goal. The fans were midway cheering as his chipped shot foiled the goalkeeper and trickled towards the back of the net but it was cleared off the line.

A penalty shout for a foul on Matt Lench led to Hitchin's third goal. Play continued despite the protests and Donnelly picked up on yet another loose ball in the box to make it 3-1 in the 42nd minute.


Hitchin 3-1 Bideford

Hitchin started the second-half brightly, although there was less eagerness for goals.

Burns was denied again on two further occasions - the first shot an easy save for the keeper and the second shot was another chip, which this time was excruciatingly close but landed on the outside roof of the net.

McNamara produced a good opportunity for Hitchin after working well with Charlie Smith and making ground up the left wing. The resulting cross had Lench, Burns and Smith all trying their luck at goal but Bideford defended well.

Bideford's Matt Wright became the target-man for the visitors and their corners and free-kicks were sailing in his direction.

With open-play opportunities limited, Bideford were making the most of the set-plays and on the 70th minute their pressure paid off as Nick Milton scored from a corner. It was Chris McGrath who knocked down the ball in to Milton's path.

Bideford's second goal sparked some life in to the side and they started to press for an equaliser. Hitchin became less forceful with their attacks, although movements  by Lench, Burns and substitute Gary Wharton showed Hitchin weren't prepared to see the game out by sitting back and defending.

After a penalty shout for Bideford was waved away, the visitors continued applying pressure throughout injury time. Hitchin, however, defended well and ensured that they finished the game with all three points.


Hitchin 3-2 Bideford

Hitchin: Smith, Rolfe, Walster, Ann, Chabata, Jones, McNamara (Wharton), Lench, Donnelly (Martin), Burns, Smith Subs: Martin, King, Wharton, Ironton, Osei-Soribour.

Bideford: Irish, Sampson, Milton, Downing, McGrath, Harrison (Mercica) Bye, Kirk (Richards), Squire (Wright), Wood, Groves Subs: Richards, Wright, Veal, Mercica.

Goals: Downing 17', Donnelly 19' 42', McNamara 27', Milton 70'

Attendance: 267


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