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Bedworth United 1 Hitchin Town 2

Tuesday, January 5 2016

Two goals from Matt Lench clinched a victory that moved Hitchin to third place in the league table. Hitchin are currently enjoying a remarkable sequence of results. They are now unbeaten in 10 league games with 7 wins and 3 draws during which time they have only conceded 3 goals with 7 clean sheets. They have only lost once in their last 18 games in all competitions and still have games in hand of all their main rivals in the play off chase.

This was not an easy game as Bedworth are a different proposition to earlier in the season and while they are 22nd in the league table they are 12th in the last six games table and had beaten Chesham and Leamington recently. Despite the desperate weather the artificial surface meant this game was never in any doubt and with so many postponements currently taking place the arguments in favour of 3G surfaces will continue to grow.

Team news saw Callum Donnelly return to the starting line up and he replaced the unavailable Ali Ann while Will Wright returned to the bench after a successful loan spell at Bedford Town.

After just 27 seconds Luke Rowe was booked for a poor challenge on Jonny McNamara, the first of 3 Bedworth bookings. Charlie Horlock did well to tip an Aron Wint shot over the bar but Hitchin soon settled to play some neat football on the zippy surface. They took the lead in the 12th minute with a screamer from Lench. He let fly from 30 yards and the ball nestled in the corner of the net with keeper George Woodward hopelessly beaten. It was a brilliant goal and Hitchin continued on the front foot. 

Woodward did well to beat McNamara to a Callum Donnelly pass  while a good cross from Lucas Kirkpatrick saw McNamara attempt a scissor kick that flew over the bar. Rowe produced a good save from Horlock when his free kick was tipped round the post but Hitchin should have increased their lead when Lench smashed a close range shot over the bar in the 42nd minute. He went for power when placement would have sufficed but Hitchin were full value for their half time lead.

The second half was scruffy and untidy and Hitchin showed a different side to their game as they proved they could win ‘’ugly’’. The game was littered with free kicks and stoppages as the referee struggled to control matters but the work rate of the Hitchin players was again exemplary with many last ditch tackles and blocks when needed.

Hitchin increased their lead just three minutes in when Woodward fumbled an easy take and the ball reached Lench who scored from close range. He shot over the bar in the next minute but to give credit to Bedworth they tried to play football and were back in the game after a brilliant finish from Daniel Dubidat after a cross from the left in the 53rd minute.

Hitchin did not panic and defended well and contained the Bedworth fightback. Brett Donnelly replaced McNamara after 76 minutes with Robbie Burns dropping back. Callum Donnelly was wide with a well hit shot before Lench so nearly got his hat trick. It would have been a sensational goal as a sweeping cross from Sam Barker was volleyed perfectly by Lench only for the crossbar to intervene. He came close again but shot wide in the 88th minute.

5 minutes of added time was successfully negotiated and overall Hitchin deserved their victory to the delight of another good away following. It was again a team performance with every player making his contribution but special mention must be made of Lewis Rolfe who had an outstanding game and continues to impress as a central defender.

Another difficult away game follows with a trip to Weymouth on Saturday but confidence is high and Hitchin have no reason to fear any other team in the league.

Teams

Hitchin  Horlock, Smith, Bickerstaff, C Donnelly, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, Lench, Kirkpatrick, Burns, Barker  Subs B Donnelly for McNamara 76, Johnson, Martin, Brooks, Wright
Bedworth  Woodward, Ashmore, Rowe, Westwood, Cartwright, Bryan, Creaney, Parrott, Marsden, Wint, Dubidat  Subs Archer for Wint 68, Wesley for Marsden, McGarrity , Chester for Cartwright

Bookings
Hitchin  Barker
Bedworth  Rowe, Westwood, Dubidat

Attendance 155

Roy Izzard




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