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Hitchin Town 2 Cirencester Town 0

Saturday, November 21 2015

Two late goals from Matt Lench and Robbie Burns sealed a win for Hitchin over a Cirencester side that started well but were worn down in the second half. It extended the Canaries unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.

Hitchin’s starting eleven was unchanged from the team that beat Haringey Borough on Monday. 

On the club’s annual Forces Day, when the Band of the Queen’s Division welcomed the sides out, and when fitting tribute was paid to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks, the match started slowly.

The visitors had the better possession during the first half but chances were at a premium.
Hitchin’s first threat came when a Kirkpatrick shot following a free kick was deflected. After the subsequent corner was cleared, Donnelly headed a Burns cross just wide.

Horlock however was the busier goalkeeper. He pulled off a regulation save from a weak shot inside the area by Knight before making a more difficult stop from a longer range effort by Dunton, who had been teed up by Griffin. The veteran striker had previously had an attempt cleared by the Canaries defence after he cut in from the left.

At the other end, McNamara embarked on a run past three defenders after being put in by a Donnelly header. However his cross was gathered by Garner. The Hitchin number 7 then almost got on the end of a Burns shot but the offside flag had been raised.

As the half drew to a close, Horlock again had to be alert – coming out of his area to clear when Kotwica was sent through. However the first half had not done a great deal to take fans’ minds off the freezing temperature at Top Field!

HALF TIME Hitchin Town 0 Cirencester Town 0

After the break, Hitchin’s patience and passing game became more of a threat with the visitors forced on to the back foot. 

Jonny McNamara and Kane Smith were involved in a lot of the build-up, as they set up Donnelly but the striker was flagged for offside. McNamara also intercepted a misplaced Centurions pass, headed for the by-line and squared a pass back that fell just short of Donnelly. 

McNamara also sprang the offside trap to advance into the area but his shot was scrambled away, while his next cross then evaded Brett Donnelly. Burns shot into the side netting as Hitchin broke quickly after winning a free kick deep in their own half for foul from which Griffin was booked. Smith also made space for a shot with a nimble drag-back inside the area, but the shot was hit as he lost balance and flew over the goal.

Hitchin brought on Matt Lench for Lucas Kirkpatrick as they sought the elusive goal and it was the substitute who finally delivered on 77 minutes. It was created with a good cross by Kane Smith which evaded Garner and was met beyond the far post by Lench. His header looped under the crossbar to break the deadlock and looked to have just crossed the line before Donnelly followed up to make sure.

Cirencester appeared to have run out of ideas and a second Hitchin goal followed four minutes later. Smith was again the instigator as his angled cross flew across the box. Neither Donnelly nor Lench could make a connection but Burns was coming in at the back post to fire home and seal the victory.

This was an encouraging victory with solid performances throughout the team, who deserved credit for once again continuing to press for a result for the full ninety minutes. 

FULL TIME: Hitchin Town 2 Cirencester Town 0

Hitchin - Horlock, Smith, Bickerstaff, Ann (c), Walster, Rolfe, McNamara, Kirkpatrick, Donnelly, Burns, Barker
Subs – Lench (for Kirkpatrick), Johnson, Webb, Wright, Boyd (for Donnelly)
Cirencester - Garner, Herring, Dunton, Anson, Cooper, Henry (c), Liddiard, Mortimer-Jones, Griffin, Knight, Kotwica
Subs – Bennett (for Knight), Thompson, Bevan (for Kotwica)

Hitchin – Smith
Cirencester – Griffin, Herring

Sponsors MOTM: Kane Smith

ATT: 306


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