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Hitchin Town 1 Enfield Town 2

Monday, October 12 2015

Hitchin were left to rue what might have been as their FA Cup run crashed to a halt against Enfield Town. The Ryman League visitor's finished this 3rd Qualifying Round replay strongly to overturn the Canaries half time lead.


Hitchin went into the game with one change as Barker started instead of Kirkpatrick, who he had substituted in Saturday’s game. Enfield welcomed back Devyne, who had been suspended in the first game, and replaced Campbell with Livings.


The game began at a lively pace, and the running feud between Frendo and Vilcu continued from Saturday. Hitchin had the better of exchanges and McNamara fired over from an early Hitchin free kick.


Kane Smith then fired over from distance after Callum Donnelly had evaded the attention of Hayden-Smith.


Enfield had a stroke of luck as Donnelly chipped over McDonald but the assistant referee had already flagged for offside. However Hitchin’s build up was fluent and their best chance was carved out as a result of this. A Rolfe cross fell to McNamara but, when very well placed, he got under the shot and fired it against the bar.


Enfield tried to keep in the game, with Gabriel running from deep, and forced a couple of corners with the home defence having to scramble clear an Ottoway header. Horlock was then called into action to clear from Devyne just outside the area. His header away partially cleared the danger and the goalie then continued his excursion to put the ball out for a throw!


Hitchin continued to press forward and even Alasan Ann and Dan Webb were involved. The former got in a couple of dangerous crosses, as did Donnelly as Enfield struggled to clear their lines.


Frendo was lucky to escape with a lecture after another clash with Vilcu. It appeared that he might be booked for a handball although Vilcu remained on the ground apparently in the hope that a different card might be shown.


Then, on 40 minutes, Hitchin’s first half efforts paid off. A long ball down the right flank appeared to require a routine clearance from Doyle. However he dwelt on the ball and allowed McNamara to snatch it from him. The Hitchin number 7 then cut the ball back to the waiting Burns who completed the task to open the scoring.


Enfield had one chance to level before the break as Horlock saved low down from Ottaway, but when the half time whistle blew Hitchin had merited their lead.


HALF TIME Hitchin Town 1 Enfield Town 0


The second half began with Enfield as expected trying to up the tempo and drawing challenges from Hitchin. A first free kick on the edge of the area saw Devyne clear the bar, while Horlock had to receive treatment after coming out to claim the ball from a second free kick.


Gabriel again burst into the box and it required a great challenge from Smith to clear the ball. From the following corner, Vilcu headed wide.


The positive passing game that had served Hitchin well in the first half was not clicking and the side defended deeper. Rolfe tried to relieve pressure as he embarked on a run virtually the length of the pitch but his tame cross was gathered by McDonald, who had not been required to perform the same heroics as he did late on Saturday. Frendo was not a dominant force but did slip one pass through to Lench, who snatched at his shot.


The tide was turning and what happened next had been on the cards. Hitchin conceded another freekick, this time in the Enfield half. The kick was long and deep into the box. Vilcu rose unchallenged to flick the ball into the path of Ottaway who tucked the ball home.


Hitchin sought an immediate equaliser and a McNamara run brought a corner. Frendo’s shot was scrambled away as the ball bobbled about in the area before Ann was fouled just outside the box. Burns curling free kick was off target.


Enfield were now the dominant side as their power and pace threatened Hitchin. Devyne fired in a snapshot from some 25 yards but it was wide, while Ottaway nearly converted again after another free kick.


However the visitors were not to be denied. On 77 minutes, a ball across the box was only partially cleared by Kirkpatrick. Devyne pounced and played the ball back to Vilcu. His shot from the edge of the area went in off the bar.


Hitchin tried to get back into the game, as McDonald parried a Donnelly shot. Simon Martin was thrown into the fray and by the end even Charlie Horlock had been pushed forward. However it was clear that Enfield were not going to give up their lead and they ran down time with substitutions and another tumble by Vilcu.


It was clear how important the win was to Enfield and their noisy contingent of fans at the end of the match. In the meantime Hitchin were left to lick their wounds and look for a bounce back when they take on Redditch in the league on Saturday.


FINAL SCORE Hitchin Town 1 Enfield Town 2



Hitchin - Horlock, Smith, Rolfe, Ann, Webb, Barker, McNamara, Donnelly, Frendo, Burns, Lench

Subs - Kirkpatrick (for Barker), Johnson, Walster, Martin (for Lench), Corran, Bickerstaff, Pearson


Enfield - McDonald, Parcell, Gabriel, Vilcu, Joseph, Muguo, Doyle, Livings, Devyne, Ottaway, Hayden-Smith

Subs - Stevens, Durajme (for Devyne), Whitely (for Hayden-Smith), Bihmoutine (for Ottaway), Campbell, Wynter, Hughes


Attendance 486

Colin (photo by Peter Else)


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