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Weymouth 2 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, August 23 2014

The Southern League fixture computer has hardly helped Hitchin this season. As if eight away games out of the first twelve was not bad enough the League in their wisdom sent Hitchin on one of their longest trips of the season on a Bank Holiday Saturday with as expected terrible traffic jams causing a nightmare journey. Other clubs also faced similar problems as common sense seemed to be absent from the fixture compilers.

Despite leaving extra early it was impossible to avoid the traffic congestion and Hitchin 's coach did not reach the Bob Lucas Stadium until 2.23pm. The referee insisted on a 3.00pm start and it was obvious from the start that Hitchin were ill prepared for this difficult encounter. This was confirmed when Weymouth took a 3rd minute lead after a short corner was crossed in to the box which was not cleared and Adam Kelly slammed in the loose ball.

It took Hitchin a while to settle and Charlie Smith forced a good save from Jason Matthews from a 17th minute free kick. Hitchin struggled to find their passing game but in fairness Weymouth never really threatened to take the game away from them. The equaliser came after 42 minutes when an Alasan Ann free kick was neatly headed on by Brett Donnelly to Matt Lench who provided a composed finish.

In the second half Dave Corran replaced Tinashe Chabata and with stiffness from the journey now abated Hitchin played much better. Michael Johnson was making his league debut in goal and put in a really good performance with confident handling throughout. He made a good save from Stewart Yetton on 55 minutes before Kelly shot over the bar. Donnelly came close at the other end as he had a shot deflected over the bar but he went on to give Hitchin the lead after 74 minutes. An excellent run from Lench set up the chance and Donnelly finished with aplomb. He nearly scored again soon after.

Donnelly deserves great credit for his man of the match performance  as he worked tirelessly winning plenty of headers and holding the ball up really well. Hitchin could have sealed victory when a good passing move ended  with Michael King setting up Smith whose shot was saved by Matthews. Hitchin were defending well but were denied the three points in the 87th minute when  Yetton pounced on Jamie Laird's pass to smash home his shot. There followed a nervous end with nearly seven minutes of injury time but Hitchin nearly won it when Lench just failed to chip the keeper.

Weymouth are one of the favourites for promotion but Hitchin matched them all the way and in the end both managers agreed a draw was a fair result. Under Mark Burke Hitchin have a resilient nature and showed again that despite the worst possible start they are prepared to fight their way back in to a game and should never be written off.

Teams 

Weymouth  Matthews, Wells, Copp, Mcphee, Laird, Palmer, Kelly, Rigg, Yetton, Sills, Shephard  Subs West, Poole, Colwell for Sills 12, Ford, Prodomo

Hitchin  Johnson, Rolfe, Walster, Ann, Chabate, Jones, McNamara,Barker, Donnelly, Lench, Smith  Subs Martin for Donnelly 90+2, Burns, Osei-Siribour, King for McNamara 72, Corran for Chabata 45

Attendance 619

Bookings

Hitchin Donnelly and King

Weymouth McPhee

Roy Izzard

Match Photographs by Peter Else




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