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Dorchester Town 0 Hitchin Town 1

Tuesday, November 24 2015

It was a tired but happy coach party that pulled in to Top Field at 1.45am having left for Dorchester at 3.00pm—such is the less than glamorous life of a non league footballer and the sacrifices that have to be made after working all day!
But Hitchin made light of the long journey and a curtailed warm up having arrived at the ground at 7.00pm. This was a very professional performance and it really was a team effort with every player working incredibly hard as Hitchin pressed and harried Dorchester from the first whistle to the last. It was testament to the fitness levels that at no stage did the Hitchin players let up in their high tempo game and the win was thoroughly deserved at a club who had only lost two of their ten home league games.
It is now nine wins and a draw in their last ten games ,an unbeaten run that has seen the Canaries progress in three cup competitions and move up to seventh in the table with games in hand on all the teams above them. This was a third successive league clean sheet and confidence is really high.
This game was a real test as such long midweek journeys obviously favour the home team. Also Hitchin did not start Kane Smith who was rested after playing a trial game for Crystal Palace under 21’s on Monday or Lucas Kirkpatrick who was carrying an injury. They were both on the bench with Dan Webb returning to central defence alongside Josh Bickerstaff with Lewis Rolfe moving to right back and Ben Walster continuing as left back. Matt Lench returned to the midfield where Alasan Ann and Sam Barker did the holding role while Robbie Burns and Jonny McNamara played either side of Brett Donnelly in attack.
Hitchin nearly made the perfect start when Burns broke through in the first minute with a powerful run but he slightly overran the ball allowing Alan Walker-Harris to smother. Bradley Tarbuck shot well off target for Dorchester but the Hitchin defence afforded them few chances and Charlie Horlock did not really have a difficult save to make all night.
After Rolfe was booked he produced an excellent pass to Burns who in turn provided the perfect cross for Donnelly to finish at the far post in the 29th minute.
Lench shot over the bar and Donnelly should have doubled the lead just before half time when his glancing header hit the post after a good run and cross by Rolfe.
The hard work and pressing continued in the second half and Hitchin continued to look the better side . McNamara came close after 54 minutes after a typical mazy run while Barker forced a fine save with a well struck half volley. Smith replaced Rolfe on 79 minutes and Kirkpatrick came on for Donnelly on 82 minutes but there was no let up from Hitchin.
Dorchester did force a few corners towards the end but Hitchin defended as if their lives depended on it and Webb in particular was immense. The final whistle saw scenes of great jubilation on the pitch and for the five fans behind the goal—well done to the dozen supporters in total who made the horrendous journey!
If Hitchin can maintain this level of performance and with Stuart Pearson and Callum Donnelly still to return there is every reason to look forward to the rest of the season with some confidence but Mark Burke will ensure that the players keep their feet on the ground and continue to work hard.

Hitchin  Horlock, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Ann, Webb, Walster, McNamara, Lench, Donnelly B, Burns, Barker.  Subs Kirkpatrick for Donnelly 82, Johnson, Smith for Rolfe 79, Wright, Martin.
Dorchester  Walker-Harris, Oldring, Smeeton, Martin, Walker, Dillon, Davis, Holmes, Ayunga, Watson, Tarbuck  Subs Crittenden for Tarbuck 82, Murphy, Brookes , Sayers for Watson 61, Hanger
Hitchin  Rolfe
Attendance 283
Roy Izzard

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