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Cambridge City 2 Hitchin Town 4

Thursday, January 1 2015

Hitchin ushered in 2015 with a fantastic result against Cambridge City that stretched their unbeaten run to 8 games. The result was however in doubt until Callum Donnelly capped the game with a fine solo goal in stoppage time.

The first half hour was quiet with Cambridge having the balance of possession as Hitchin’s passing game was not quite in gear, and the defence looking shakier than of late as they played into a strong wind. In a Cambridge team containing some names familiar to Hitchin, Michael King looked to make an early mark by bringing down Matt Lench, although escaping without a card.

Hitchin created a half chance when good play by Martin, on the right flank, fed McNamara whose ball into the box for Peacock was cleared for a corner. However the majority of chances were falling to Cambridge, without requiring difficult saves from Horlock.

The referee harshly booked McNamara for a foul on Ieuan Lewis that looked no worse than some that had been committed earlier in the match.

Just before the half hour, Horlock was called into action and got down to make a good save from a Phillips shot that looked to be heading just inside the post.

That proved to be the fillip that Hitchin needed and they were two goals up within a four minute spell after the half hour. On 37, Lucas Kirkpatrick hit a pile-driver that cannoned back off the bar. Peacock left the ball to McNamara who fired home.

Hitchin extended their lead on 41 with an even better goal as Lewis Rolfe cut inside and hit a 25 yard powerful, dipping drive that gave Head no chance as it flew over him into the net.

The game was back in the balance in first half stoppage time. The referee missed a chance to give Hitchin a free-kick seconds earlier but then penalised Rolfe for handball. Dawkin tucked the penalty down the middle as Horlock dived to his right.

Half time: Cambridge City 1 Hitchin Town 2

The second half again started evenly, with Phillips and Dawkin looking dangerous for Cambridge. A Kirkpatrick shot stung Head’s palms but, with players committed, Cambridge broke and Hitchin were stretched to cover at the expense of a corner.

However the game then turned on the substitution of Peacock by Callum Donnelly on the hour. Almost immediately Donnelly broke into the Cambridge box but was brought down by Murray who, although last defender, escaped with a yellow card. However Rolfe ensured proper punishment by sending the resulting penalty low into the corner of the net on 62 minutes.

The lead lasted only a matter of minutes as Cambridge pushed forward in numbers, Hitchin failed to clear and a cross fell to Kelly – unmarked in front of goal – who was presented in an easy header to bring the score back to 3-2 on 65.

While Cambridge pressed forward down the Hitchin flanks, the Canaries had chances to wrap the game up. A great run by McNamara saw him slalom through the defence but his shot from a wide angle went ́nto the side netting.

Barker and Donnelly then set up Lench for a shot but his effort lacked power and was easily gathered, while the impressive McNamara then ended another run by forcing a save from Head.

After Kirkpatrick was penalised for a foul and shown a yellow card, Chaffey almost scored but the ball was scrambled away to the edge of the box by Horlock and then cleared to safety.

The game was wrapped up in stoppage time when Barker put Donnelly through on the halfway line. Donnelly ran at the defence down the left side, reached the area and cut inside two defenders, and then slotted his shot inside the near post. It was a fine goal to cap a fine performance in which McNamara and latterly Donnelly created headaches for the home defence and were assisted by Martin who worked tirelessly.

The result sets Hitchin up nicely for a big match on Saturday against table-toppers Corby Town.

Final score: Cambridge City 2 Hitchin Town 4


Cambridge - Head, Lewis, Day, Murray, Chaffey (cap), Juliusson, Kelly, Harradine, Phillips, King, Dawkin; subs – Emsden (for King), Pepper (for Juliusson), Midgley

Hitchin - Horlock, Rolfe, Walster, Ann (cap), Webb, Barker, McNamara, Lench, Martin, Peacock, Kirkpatrick; Subs - Donnelly B, Donnelly C (for Peacock), Noone, Galliford, O'Malley

Yellow cards:

Cambridge - Murray

Hitchin – McNamara, Kirkpatrick

Attendance 260 (about 60-80 Hitchin fans)


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