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Dunstable Town 0 Hitchin Town 0

Saturday, December 26 2015

Although this game will not linger in the memory the point Hitchin earned moved them in to the play off places. A combination of a very difficult wind and an over fussy referee awarding so many free kicks that the game had no chance to flow meant entertainment was in short supply. Both sides defended very well and space was always at a premium which meant a goalless draw always looked likely. Neither goalkeeper was really troubled and both sides showed a determination not to lose with so many players behind the ball at all times.

Incredibly this was Hitchin’s eighth clean sheet in their last nine league games  and this certainly brought a smile to Mark Burke’s face. He said after the game he was happy with the point and was very pleased with the first half performance although he agreed the second half was forgettable. But Dunstable had won their three previous games and came in to the game in high confidence so the draw has to be seen as an acceptable result.

Team news saw the Donnelly brothers on the bench with Kane Smith starting . Hitchin started the game on the front foot and were the better team in the first half. Sam Barker shot just wide after 4 minutes but goalmouth action was rare. Three dangerous crosses from the right wing from Smith twice and Jonny McNamara caused problems but the finishing touch was missing although an own goal nearly resulted from one of them. Dunstable hardly showed as an attacking force before the interval with the Hitchin defence rarely troubled.

The wind was just as difficult in the second half which was further ruined by the non stop awarding of free kicks by Mr Forrester which continually broke up any rhythm in the play. He handed out six yellow cards as he struggled to control the game infuriating the 291 fans of whom three quarters came from Hitchin.

Dunstable were more prominent in the second half but made poor use of a number of free kicks and corners and Charlie Horlock was rarely under any real pressure. Ali Ann had to be replaced by Callum Donnelly having sustained a facial injury but Hitchin did not really create a great deal in the second half which became increasingly niggly.

The nearest Hitchin came to scoring was a Dann Webb header that hit the outside of the post from a Lewis Rolfe free kick in the 58th minute but the game was low on quality as the wind made good football more and more difficult. Other results were favourable and the unbeaten run was continued and with games in hand Hitchin remain in a good position to target the play offs.

Hitchin - Horlock, Smith, Bickerstaff, Webb, Ann, Rolfe, McNamara, Lench, Kirkpatrick,Burns, Barker  Subs Donnelly C for Ann 55, Johnson, Donnelly B, Martin, Brooks.
Dunstable - Bostock, Reynolds, Pennel, Talbot, Kaloczi, Pepera, Watkins, Wharton, Calcutt, Gregory, Wales  Subs Roache for Calcutt 46, Vardy , Osubu for Wharton 78, Keenleyside.

Hitchin - McNamara and Kirkpatrick
Dunstable - Reynolds, Talbot, Watkins and Roache

Attendance 291

Roy Izzard

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