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Hitchin Town 2 Boreham Wood 1

Thursday, May 5 2016

Hitchin will have to invest in silver polish for the first time since 2006 after winning only their second trophy this century when deservedly beating Boreham Wood 2-1 in the Herts Senior Cup final at Cheshunt. Despite facing National League opposition from two steps higher Hitchin put in a performance that was so typical of their season and the players fly off to Salou today with tangible reward for their efforts.

The evening did not start well for Hitchin as the dreaded M25 intervened. Several players were late arriving due to the delays caused by two separate accidents and manager Mark Burke was anxiously phoning players for estimated times of arrival. Eventually he had to omit Robbie Burns and Mason Spence from the starting eleven as they could not guarantee arriving in time for the kick off. Hitchin were already without the injured Alasan Ann while Jonny McNamara and Ben Walster were suspended. 

Burke opted to play a 5-3-2 system with Will Wright, Lewis Rolfe and Dan Webb playing as centre backs with Kane Smith returning to right back and Josh Bickerstaff at left back. Liam Brooks partnered Brett Donnelly up front while Matt Lench returned in midfield alongside Callum Donnelly and Lucas Kirkpatrick.

Hitchin could not have made a better start as they took the lead after just 3 minutes when Brooks scored from close range after great play from Bickerstaff. However the lead was wiped out 13 minutes later when Billy Clifford scored a brilliant equaliser. He was over 20 yards out and struck a shot that nestled in the top corner of the net giving Charlie Horlock no chance whatsoever. But any thoughts that this would see Hitchin suffer as in the Hungerford game were soon dispelled as Hitchin more than held their own for the remainder of the half.

Callum Donnelly could not quite get on the end of a cross as the high bounce beat him while Rolfe had a fierce shot just over the bar. Boreham  Wood came close when Connor Clifford saw his free kick take a deflection and hit the bar  but it remained 1-1 at half time.
One of the most impressive facets of Hitchin’s performances this season has been how hard they work and this was again demonstrated in this game . When Boreham Wood were in possession Hitchin continually closed them down often hunting in packs to make it as difficult as possible and Hitchin gained control of the second half.

Brooks had a shot blocked after a good passing move before Hitchin were awarded a penalty after the referee spotted some holding in the area. Rolfe was brave enough to take the penalty but it was not hit with any conviction and James Russell had a comfortable save. But Hitchin did not dwell on this set back and a Callum Donnelly free kick was headed home by Webb via the bar after 62 minutes emphasising the threat he provides at set pieces.

On 66 minutes a poor tackle on Kirkpatrick saw David Stephens yellow carded. The incident led to a fracas as players from both teams got involved. When order was restored Stephens got a second yellow card and was sent off while Callum Donnelly and Junior Morais were also booked. The game soon settled and Boreham Wood committed more men forward but Hitchin held firm. Burns replaced Brooks as Hitchin still looked dangerous.

In the third minute of injury time Boreham Wood thought they had equalised but Scott Doe’s header was ruled out for offside. The final whistle saw great celebrations from players and supporters. The Hitchin fans heavily outnumbered their opponents and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the first cup win since 2006.

Hitchin - Horlock, Smith, Bickerstaff, Wright, Webb, Rolfe, Kirkpatrick, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Brooks, Lench; Subs - Burns for Brooks 71, Johnson, Barnes, Spence, Martin
Boreham Wood - Russell, Doe, Reynolds, Shakes, Howell, C Clifford, Morais, B Clifford, Connors, Stephens, Whichelow; Subs - Hill for C Clifford 58, Garrard, Hunter for Whichelow 78, Beattie, White

Hitchin - Brooks (3), Webb (62)
Boreham Wood - Clifford (16)

Sending off

Boreham Wood - Stephens (2 yellows)

Hitchin - Kirkpatrick Lench and C Donnelly
Boreham Wood - Morias and Hill

Attendance - 366

Roy Izzard

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