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Hitchin Town 1 Chippenham Town 1‏

Saturday, December 5 2015

Goals at the start of each half saw Hitchin and high flying Chippenham share the spoils at a blustery Top Field.

The only change from the defeat at Weston was the return of Lucas Kirkpatrick, with Brett Donnelly moving to the bench. It was Kirkpatrick who won Hitchin's first corner in the second minute and from that corner, Hitchin opened their account. The ball eventually fell to Alasan Ann, waiting on the edge of the area. His shot lacked venom but crept inside Kent Kaupinnen's left hand post.

This heralded a first half in which The Canaries had the upper hand and played the more progressive football, but still needed to be alert to the threat posed by the visitors.
One fine move, with Hitchin passing their way from one end of the pitch to the other, saw Lewis Rolfe receive the ball and fire just across the face of the goal.

The Bluebirds relied upfront on the experienced duo of Alan Griffin and Adam Sandell, who had been instrumental in their recent good run in the league. Their ringcraft extended to a willingness to impose themselves physically, and Sandell in particular was lucky that the referee seemed keen to use his cards sparingly.

However Bickerstaff was alert to cut out a Chippenham cross heading for Griffin, and Horlock had to make amends after electing to leave his area as Sandell advanced. The forward took the ball wide and crossed to Griffin. However  he miskicked and Horlock was able to recover and collect.

The Canaries carved out more opportunities though, with the ever improving Walster trying to play a good ball to Robbie Burns but the forward had just mistimed his run. Kaupinnen was called into action by a long range Lench shot and, while McNamara tried to follow up, the flag had gone up. The visiting keeper also had to leave his area to nod away from the advancing Burns and then gather the ball from Lench's head.

The half ended with McNamara running at the Chippenham defence, firstly winning a corner which the Bluebirds hastily cleared, and then winning a free kick after a quick break instigated by Webb. Burns fired the dead ball narrowly wide.

HALF TIME Hitchin Town 1 Chippenham Town 0

The visitors made a halftime switch with Ferguson going off to be replaced by Matt Smith. Within three minutes, he had imposed himself upon the match. Hitchin lost possession and the ball fell to the half time sub just outside the area. He struck a sweet shot past Horlock for the leveller.

Hitchin had a couple of half chances to respond, from Kirkpatrick who won a corner, and then from Ann from that corner. However Chippenham were buoyed by the goal and having a good passage of play.

It took the Canaries a few minutes to get back into the game and restate their passing game.  Ann and Barker freed up McNamara on the right but his shot was straight at Kaupinnen.

Hitchin's best chance to clinch the points followed when Alasan Ann was brought down outside the box. He took the free kick himself and the shot looked to be heading under the bar. However Kaupinnen brought off a great stretching save to tip the ball over the woodwork.

Ann again contributed a good pass to McNamara. The forward's best option was to get in an early shot as the keeper was back pedalling, but his effort flew past the far post.

Chippenham's efforts focused on  wind-assisted long throws, with Campbell heading over after one throw. At the other end, Kaupinnen again denied Lench after Ann and sub Kane Smith had created a chance but there were to be no more goals and both sides could be satisfied with a draw played out in difficult conditions. The Canaries will hope that they can continue in this vein on Monday when Paulton Rovers visit Top Field.

FINAL SCORE Hitchin Town 1 Chippenham Town 1
Hitchin - Horlock, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Ann (cap), Webb, Walster, McNamara, Lench, Kirkpatrick, Burns, Barker
Subs - Smith (for Rolfe), Brett Donnelly (for Burns), Brooks, Callum Donnelly, Martin 
Chippenham - Kaupinnen, Ballinger, Grant, Pook, Tindle (cap), Preece, Ferguson, Guthrie, Griffin, Sandell, Jones
Subs - Norman, Campbell (for Jones), Allen (for Sandell), Bevan, Smith (for Ferguson)
Yellow Cards
Hitchin - Donnelly
Chippenham - Sandell
Sponsors MOTM - Jonny McNamara
Attendance - 290


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