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Hungerford Town 2 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, October 4 2014

Hitchin fell to a disappointing defeat at Hungerford despite the hosts being down to ten men for the last 18 minutes. While Hungerford probably shaded the game a draw looked the likely outcome before poor defending saw an 86th winner conceded. 
Tahj Bell returned in goal while Dave Corran replaced Ben Walster at left back and Brett Donnelly returned from suspension to lead the attack. Matt Lench was fit enough to be on the bench. 
Hitchin made the perfect start when just four minutes in to the game they took the lead. A long kick from Bell found its way through to Robbie Burns who cut in from the left and smashed in an unstoppable shot. This was the first goal Hungerford had  conceded at home in the league this season. 
Ian Herring was booked for a bad foul on Charlie Smith before Bell made good saves from James Pilling and Lee Smith. But unfortunately Bell had to leave the field after sustaining a head injury after 29 minutes with Michael Johnson coming on. Five minutes later Hungerford equalised after an excellent free kick from Pilling was parried and the ever dangerous Mark Draycott slotted home the rebound. It was his 98th goal for Hungerford. 
Hungerford are not in the upper reaches of the league for no reason. They play a high intensity game and work very hard. They have a direct style and are very physical and you need to match them to avoid being dominated. They were continually looking to get the ball out to Smith on the left wing who proved very dangerous. 
Referee Mr Paterson had a poor day and was inconsistent throughout the game. He harshly booked Brett Donnelly before half time and continually left the Hitchin management exasperated. 
Jonny McNamara poked a shot just wide after 52 minutes then Alasan Ann made a brilliant goal line clearance from Dan Cann. Lench replaced McNamara after 66 minutes but Hitchin's passing game was well below par. Dean Stow earned a deserved red card when he pushed Brett Donnelly in the face but Hitchin failed to use the extra man advantage and never really threatened to get another goal. Stefan Powell came on for Callum Donnelly and a draw seemed the most likely outcome before in the 86th minute Cann set up Smith for a run and shot that was converted by Draycott at the far post. It was a goal Hitchin will feel they should have defended better and meant they returned home pointless. 
Hitchin were not at their best and will know they can do better and a tough Monday night encounter with St Neots should be the perfect opportunity for a return to the level of which they are capable. 
Hungerford  Strudley, Stow, John, Boardman, Day, Herring, Rees, Pilling, Cann, Draycott, Smith  Subs Goodger, Clark for Cann 87, Rusby  for Pilling 90,  Grace_parsons for Draycott 87, O'Brien 
Hitchin  Bell, Rolfe, Corran, Ann, Webb, Barker, McNamara, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Burns, Smith  Subs Walster, Johnson for Bell 29, Lench for McNamara 66, Powell for C Donnelly 75, Osei-Siribour 
Hungerford   Herring  
Hitchin  B Donnelly 
Sending off 
Hungerford  Stow 
Attendance  163 
Roy Izzard 

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