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Hitchin Town 1 Royston Town 2

Saturday, November 15 2014

The team news was a sign this was not to be Hitchin's day. Alasan Ann, Sam Barker and Dan Webb were not fit enough to play.  Added to this Callum Donnelly will be missing for at least two months and Jonny McNamara was suspended meaning five key players were out of the game. It was another makeshift back four with Dave Corran and Tinashe Chabata the central defenders. It seems the defence changes every game meaning continuity and understanding is lacking.
Charlie Horlock replaced Tahj Bell in goal having joined on a months loan from Wycombe and he was picking the ball out of the net in the very first minute. A corner was needlessly conceded and Scott Bridges was totally unmarked to head home. Hitchin are leaking too many soft goals at the moment to emphasise the problems an ever changing defence is causing.
Lewis Rolfe was just wide with a good effort and a Brett Donnelly shot lacked power before Royston extended their lead in the 20th minute. While Jack Bradshaw produced a good cross again it was a free header from Gary Hart giving Horlock no chance. Indeed Horlock had an impressive debut, communicating well and showing good distribution. He made an excellent save from Ryan Lockett after 29 minutes.
Things got worse for Hitchin in the 32nd minute when Chabata was sent off after pulling back Ryan Ingrey and being deemed the last man. It did appear Ingrey was offside but no flag came. Horlock made another good save from the subsequent free kick but it was a 2-0 half time deficit.
The injury curse struck again with Donnelly having to be replaced at half time by Simon Martin but Hitchin did show good character in the second half as they started to pass the ball far better than in the first half. Rolfe had moved to central defence and despite being a player down Royston were put under more pressure. Nat Peacock was having a promising debut up front and put a header just wide early in the second half.
Hitchin got reward for their improved showing when Martin was fouled in the penalty area and Ben Walster despatched the penalty. An unlikely comeback seemed possible and Royston resorted to time wasting but the equaliser did not come. Royston were a good side and will expect to make the play offs so Hitchin could not afford to give away two poor goals but the second half showing did offer hope that when some of the key absentees return Hitchin can reverse the current depressing run.
Hitchin  Horlock, O'Malley, Walster, Corran, Chabata, Rolfe, Osei-Siribour, Lench, B Donnelly, Peacock, Noone  Subs Martin for Donnely 46, Bell, Powell Okojie.
Royston  Russo, Bradshaw, Dobson, Bridges, Mentis, Powell, Wharton, Bridges, Hart, Lockett, Ingrey  Subs Theobold for Wharton 65, Kilgallon, Nightingale for Bridges 76, Endacott for Stuart Bridges, Collins.
Hitchin  Corran and Lench
Royston Scott Bridges
Sending off
Hitchin  Chabata
Attendance 106
Roy Izzard

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