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Hitchin Town 1 Cheshunt 0

Monday, January 18 2016

A home semi final against St Albans is the reward for this victory over Cheshunt in the Herts Senior Cup. It was a bitterly cold evening at Top Field and 101 hardy fans left the warmth of their homes to see Hitchin win more comfortably than the scoreline would suggest. As expected Mark Burke did some squad rotation and Charlie Horlock, Josh Bickerstaff, Alasan Ann and Robbie Burns were all excluded from the squad. Michael Johnson was in goal with Dan Webb and Will Wright in central defence with Kane Smith and Ben Walster the full backs. The ever versatile Lewis Rolfe was the holding midfielder alongside Callum Donnelly, Lucas Kirkpatrick, Liam Brooks and Jonny McNamara with Brett Donnelly up front.
Hitchin started well and a good ball from Webb gave McNamara an early chance but he failed to control the ball properly. Ben Walster hit a shot over the bar before Callum Donnelly also had a shot deflected over the bar. Callum was providing some excellent passes and from one of them Kirkpatrick had a shot blocked.
Cheshunt rarely threatened the Hitchin goal and McNamara forced a good save from James May just before half time depriving Hitchin of a deserved lead.
The second half started with Hitchin continuing to look dangerous and Brett Donnelly headed wide from a Kirkpatrick cross. Then McNamara had a great chance when Smith provided an excellent delivery but from close range he shot over the bar. But Hitchin took the lead in the 56th minute with a brilliant goal. Callum Donnelly had to delay his pass as McNamara was in an offside position but he released Kirkpatrick with an inch perfect delivery. He was 20 yards from goal but produced the most exquisite chip to leave May clawing at air as the ball sailed in to the net. It was a goal worthy of a bigger stage.
Brett Donnelly headed over from another Smith cross before Wright hit a shot over the bar. Cheshunt had a couple of dangerous attacks but Johnson and his defence coped really well. The second goal did not come but Hitchin saw the game out well and it was good to follow Saturday’s unlucky defeat with a win and a clean sheet despite the absence of four key players. These cup games have proved really valuable in giving game time to the squad players and with a relentless fixture schedule to come the whole squad will need to be used.
It is back to league action on Saturday with a visit to Slough and this win will have been good for restoring confidence after Saturday’s setback and Hitchin will be looking to go on another unbeaten run as they chase a play off position and silverware in two cups. 
Hitchin Town - 
Johnson, Smith, Walster, Wright, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Kirkpatrick  Subs Pearson, Palmiero, Barnes, Payne for McNamara 77,Riley
Cheshunt - May, Purcell, Bristow, Kizzi, Kendall, Illsley, Cooper, Hackney, Coley, Zanone, Milner  Subs Asante for Hackney 62,Hallett for Milner 84, Bolle for Coley 62
Cheshunt - Bristow
Attendance - 101

Roy Izzard 

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