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Frome Town 0 Hitchin Town 3

Sunday, April 5 2015

Frome went in to this game having lost just one of their last six league games and with a near fully fit squad to choose from and with Hitchin never having won a game at their Somerset hosts’ ground the omens were not good. But Hitchin produced a really impressive performance and from the first minute to the last were in control of the game and fully deserved their comprehensive victory which cements their top ten position.
Mark Burke was able to name an unchanged side and again played 4-4-2 and from the first whistle it was obvious that the players were really up for this game. The midfield quartet of Callum Donnelly, Ian Rees, Lucas Kirkpatrick and Jonny McNamara worked incredibly hard and were continually closing down any Frome threat as well as producing excellent passing football. The back four were disciplined and well organised throughout while the two strikers put in another hard working shift and had a great battle with Chris McGrath ( son of Paul and similar in style). So this was a really good team performance and there seems a particularly good team spirit that the management have engendered.
Hitchin made the best possible start when Kirkpatrick shot in to the corner of the net from 20 yards after a  Rees cross was only partially cleared for his second goal in successive games. After eight minutes Hitchin had a let off when Frome had a goal ruled out for offside and the four minutes later Rees scored a quite brilliant overhead kick which showed great technique after Brett Donnelly had headed on a Kane Smith cross. This was the third consecutive game that Rees has scored as he continues to impress, while Smith really has taken to senior football like a duck to water and nothing has fazed him.  
McNamara produced a cross that saw Brett Donnelly force a good save from Darren Chitty as Hitchin continued to create good chances. The only moment of danger came on 35 minutes when Lewis Haldane hit the bar  and then Smith headed off the line. But the half ended with Kirkpatrick failing to get enough power in to his shot from Nat Peacock’s cross.
The second half saw Hitchin remain comfortably in control and the result was never in doubt. Alasan Ann was replaced at half time by Ben Walster who fitted in very smoothly alongside Dan Webb. Lewis Rolfe volleyed wide after  48 minutes while Peacock produced another good save from Chitty in the next attack. Peacock had to be replaced after 62 minutes and Sam Barker came on.
Hitchin continued to play good football and the impressive Kirkpatrick again came close after 77 minutes. Simon Martin replaced Callum Donnelly who had a really tenacious game in a holding role and brother Brett nearly scored when his first shot was saved and his follow up sailed over the bar. But a third goal was to come three minutes in to injury time when Martin was brought down. Although Chitty saved Rolfe’s penalty-his first failure from the spot - he emphatically netted the rebound.
It was telling that goalkeeper Chitty was named Frome’s man of the match while Charlie Horlock had very little to do in the game. So eight goals in two games really sets Hitchin up for the local derby with Cambridge City who are themselves in good form and a cracking match is in prospect on Monday where  a good crowd can be expected. Confidence is high and the quality of football continues to improve.
Hitchin  Horlock, Rolfe, Smith, Ann, Webb, Kirkpatrick, McNamara, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Peacock, Rees  Subs Barker for Peacock 62 Martin for C Donnelly 84, Johnson,  Walster for Ann HT, Corran
Frome  Chitty, Cooper, Tonkin, Baggridge, Vallis. McGrath,Vance, Smith, Haldane, Taylor, Hulbert  Subs Bonella,  Mundy for Vance HT, Minnis for Hulbert 79, Miller for Baggridge 54, Walker
Hitchin None
Frome McGrath and Smith
Attendance 210
Roy Izzard

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