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Hitchin Town 0 Bideford AFC 0

Saturday, March 19 2016

Hitchin's play off aspirations were dented as they were held to a draw by a Bideford side scrapping for points for survival. 
 
The draw was down to a mixture of dogged defending by the visitors and an "off day" in front of a 490 crowd buoyed by the Ladies Day initiative giving free admission to female fans. 
 
Hitchin were unchanged from the starting eleven at Stratford, while The Robins welcomed Scott Corderoy in goal. While Hitchin had the better of early skirmishes, it was Charlie Horlock who was the first keeper required to deal with an effort on target – easily saving a Chris McGrath header from a corner. 
 
Corderoy was called into action soon afterwards with a regulation save from a Brett Donnelly header following a Kane Smith free kick. However on 14 minutes, Hitchin had their best chance of the half. From a Lucas Kirkpatrick corner, Dan Webb had a free header but he placed the effort just wide of the goal. 
 
Kirkpatrick had a shout for a penalty after being nudged off the ball after a Ben Walster pass, but the referee erred on the side of leniency.  
 
Despite Bideford being some 20 points adrift of the safety zone, they played to their strengths and sought to close down the Canaries and disrupt their passing game. They were effective in this to the extent that Horlock was the busier keeper before the interval, although clear cut chances were at a premium at both ends.  
 
Ben Wood found the space to run onto the ball and try a long range shot that flew over the crossbar, Kevin Squire had an optimistic shout for a penalty while skipper Matty Bye forced Horlock into a save from a free kick. 
 
As the half came to a close, Hitchin were still having trouble mustering shots on target as Robbie Burns elected to pass to Callum Donnelly when he might have had a shot himself, and Kirkpatrick fired over after a good run by McNamara. 
 
Half Time Hitchin Town 0 Bideford AFC 0 
 
After the interval, Hitchin's play remained disjointed as Bideford closed down in numbers. 
 
McNamara, who had had a quiet first half, came into the game more after the break – just failing to connect with a teasing Walster cross, prompting a foul from Bye during one surge forward, and bringing another penalty shout from his cross. 
 
Smith also made one good run down the flank but Burns was unable to make meaningful contact with the resultant low cross to the near post.  
 
At the other end, Squire shot wide from a Bideford freekick while Horlock needed to save again from Bye. 
 
The closest Hitchin came to a winner was on 76 minutes when a Burns cross fell to Alasan Ann whose scooped shot struck the woodwork.  
 
The disjointed pattern continued. Hitchin were not helped by some random officiating and were signaled offside on a number of occasions – some of which were dubious – but they struggled to put together fluent passes. 
 
McNamara had an effort gathered by Corderoy after he had latched on to a long ball, while Webb also brought a save from the keeper.  
 
There was a moment of concern in the Hitchin defence as Horlock elected correctly to come out of his area to clear from Squire. The ball cannoned clear and  Josh Bickerstaff, who had come on for Smith, had to be on hand to cover the ball lofted back towards the goalmouth. 
 
The sense of frustration was clear and it spilled over after McNamara had been upended again. Eventually the referee decided to issue yellow cards for Ann and McGrath. From the following freekick, McNamara and Callum Donnelly both had efforts cleared while Lewis Rolfe's was saved. 
 
Liam MacDevitt came on for Kirkpatrick to try and nick a result but Hitchin were to remain goalless. Their poor record against Bideford – only one win in six encounters – continues, although this match might easily have ended in defeat. It puts more importance on getting back to winning ways as Hitchin go into three tough matches within seven days over the Easter period, starting at The Walks on Tuesday night.  
 
Full Time Hitchin Town 0 Bideford AFC 0 
 
Teams 
Hitchin – Horlock, Smith, Walster, Ann, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, Callum Donnelly, Brett Donnelly, Burns, Kirkpatrick; Subs – Spence (for Brett Donnelly), Johnson, Bickerstaff (for Smith), MacDevitt (for Kirkpatrick), Barnes 
Bideford – Corderoy, Sampson, Reed, Wilson, McGrath, Harrison, Bye, Milton, Squire, Tucker, Wood; Subs – Joe Barker, Nick Barker (for Wood), Johnson 
 
Yellow cards 
Hitchin
– Brett Donnelly, Ann 
Bideford - McGrath 
 
Attendance - 490

Hitchin Town MOTM - Lewis Rolfe 


 

Colin (photo by Peter Else)




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