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Hitchin Town 0 - Hemel Hempstead Town 1

Thursday, July 24 2014

Hitchin Town vs. Hemel Hempstead
Match Report
Thursday 24th July
Top Field

Hitchin suffered a pre-season defeat on Thursday night after losing 1-0 to Hemel Hempstead at Top Field. 

The game started in a reserved manner, although Hemel took control of the game and passed the ball nicely around the pitch.

There was a weak penalty shout for the away side in the opening minutes but the referee was unmoved by the appeals.

Matt Lench looked eager to get Hitchin in control and after making ground in what was Hitchin's first attack, he was cynically fouled. Moments later he received the ball upfield but couldn't find his feet in the box and the ball was consequently cleared.

The Canaries showed good team unity on a number of occasions. After Alasan Ann slipped, gave the ball away and kick-started a Hemel attack, Dan Webb was quick to block the resulting shot. Sam Barker also made a great tackle to support Lewis Rolfe after he was caught out of position. 

The Hemel Hempstead defence worked well in stifling Hitchin's attacking players - managing Gary Wharton's pace fairly comfortably and making sure Matt Lench's runs were watched and Simon Martin was constantly marked.

Hitchin then had a good chance via teamwork from Lench and Johnny McNamara. 'One-two' passing finished with McNamara putting in a dangerous cross, which Hemel half-cleared. The ball found its way back out to Lench, who had enough time to try a curling shot. Unfortunately, it curled just over the crossbar.

Sam Barker created a good chance for himself when he intercepted a poor pass out from defence. He tried to chip the goalkeeper but his effort went over the crossbar.

Minutes later, Alasan Ann received a booking and gave away a free-kick in a dangerous area of the pitch. The resulting free-kick found its way through the defence and Canary keeper Michael Johnson parried away.

Hemel had a penalty decision go against them in the latter stages of the first half - Barker was perhaps lucky to get away with a clumsy tackle in the box.

Half Time:
Hitchin 0-0 Hemel Hempstead

Simon Martin and Garry Jones made way for Michael King and Robbie Burns.

After a quiet start, it was in the 53rd minute when Hemel got their goal. Hitchin's defence looked slightly ragged as the away side got men forward in to the box with ease. The ball found its way to Simmonds, who promptly scored. 

The away side then made a bulk substitution - with several players making way for their fellow teammates. 

Hitchin had a great chance after some clever play from King. After receiving a ball up the line from Burns, King turned and switched the ball across field to McNamara, who lost his man and put in a cross. Burns had made a good run forward but his shot was wild and rolled out for a Hemel Hempstead throw. 

A late chance for Hitchin came after an attack was started by a quickly-taken throw-in. There was much time and space for some build-up play but Burns' early shot was well off-target. 

Hemel had two great chances at the end of the match. The first chance saw a free header go wide and seconds later a great cross in to the box was wasted as the ball was powered in to the side netting. It was the last piece of action of the game.

Final Score:
Hitchin Town 0-1 Hemel Hempstead

Hitchin weren't overpowered by their opponents but it was a finishing product that was lacking on the night. However, an overall solid performance from the defence and moments of great play from midfield showed some promising signs for the season. A mention to goalkeeper Michael Johnson too, who put in a positive performance and looked comfortable and confident at corners and free-kicks.

Please Note:
Apologies for the lack of Hemel Hempstead names in this report. A late team sheet which had missing names and wrong numbers made it rather difficult to write a better report. 


Hitchin: Johnson, Rolfe, Jones, Ann, Webb, Corran, McNamara, Barker, Martin, Lench, Wharton, King, Kirkpatrick, McNulty, Burns, Powell, Osei-Siribour, Okojie

Hemel Hempstead: Walker, Manny, Brighton, Potton, Eddy, Diarra, Allen, Daly, Simmonds, Mackey, Toomey, Parkes, Pearce, Thorne, Showumni, Oli, D. May, C. May, King.

Goals: Simmonds 53'

Attendance: 173


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