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Hitchin Town 3 Bedford Town 2

Monday, October 26 2015

This game was hardly a classic and will not linger too long in the memory but despite being far from at their best, Hitchin came from behind for the second time in three days to secure a late victory. Alasan Ann’s brilliant free kick which he placed right in the corner of Zaki Oualah’s net came in the 91st minute just when it seemed inevitable that a penalty shoot out would decide this Red Insure cup tie.

As expected Mark Burke chose to do some squad rotation as he ensured certain players who had been on the sidelines got much needed game time while some regulars were given a rest. The many changes did not help Hitchin to settle as players had to adapt to the new formation. Michael Johnson replaced Charlie Horlock in goal while Lewis Rolfe and David Corran were the full backs with Stuart Pearson, Ben Walster and Will Wright the three central defenders. Lucas Kirkpatrick and Sam Barker were the holding midfielders while up front Brett Donnelly was central with Jonny McNamara and Jack Boyd  playing wide.

Boyd shot over the bar in the first minute but Bedford were ahead after just six minutes with Dylan Gittens heading home a poorly defended corner. The football was far from the usual Hitchin standard as too many passes went astray but the equaliser came in the 23rd minute when McNamara was upended in the penalty area and Rolfe produced the perfect penalty giving the keeper no chance. This led to a better spell and Donnelly hit the post soon after, while Boyd had a shot saved and Barker shot over the bar.

However Bedford regained the lead after 40 minutes when ex Canary Kyle Lincoln volleyed home from a corner. The half time break saw Burke make two substitutions as Callum Donnelly replaced Rolfe and Liam Brooks came on for McNamara. On the hour mark Hitchin equalised as Brett Donnelly diverted Kirkpatrick’s shot in to the net. Soon after Jamie Osborne hit the post for Bedford but Hitchin were getting on top. Boyd was well tackled before he could shoot after an excellent Brooks pass and Brooks then shot wide from a promising position.

Ann replaced the limping Brett Donnelly after 76 minutes and slotted in to midfield and he proved to be the match winner after he was himself fouled after a very good piece of play from Boyd led to a dangerous cross. Ann made sure Bedford paid the price with a cracking free kick that saw Hitchin through to the next round where they will be at home to Stratford or Kettering.

So while the game was devoid of the usual level of passing  Hitchin again showed character to come from behind and win. So often in the past Hitchin have lost games like this and gone out to lower opposition and any win helps confidence. The other bonus is that many of the squad players got vital match practice which will be very beneficial as injuries and suspensions are sure to lead to the whole squad being needed as the season progresses.

Teams

Hitchin  Johnson, Rolfe, Corran, Wright, Walster, Pearson, McNamara, Barker, Donnelly B, Boyd, Kirkpatrick  Subs Donnelly C for Rolfe 46, Horlock, Ann for Donnelly B 76, Bickerstaff, Brooks for McNamara 46.

Bedford  Oualah, Case, Lincoln, Peters, Crowie, Cleghorn, Roberts, Powell, Bamford, Osborne, Gittens, Subs  Lester for Crowie 63, Reading, Lewars, Cambell for Cleghorn 79, Tremayne for Case 76.

Bookings 

Hitchin none 

Bedford Lincoln

Attendance 129

Roy Izzard



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