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Hitchin Town 3 Histon 2

Saturday, February 6 2016

Hitchin got back on track in their pursuit of a play off place after three consecutive league defeats . They did it the hard way twice coming from behind but there is no doubt that Hitchin thoroughly deserved their win having totally dominated possession in the second half.

Before the game Mark Burke had spoken of prioritising this league fixture by resting key players in the Red Insure Cup defeat at Cambridge City and the result vindicates his decision. He started with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Dan Webb and Stuart Pearson as centre backs and Lewis Rolfe and Josh Bickerstaff as full backs. Lucas Kirkpatrick and Ali Ann were the holding midfielders while Robbie Burns and Jonny McNamara were either side of Callum Donnelly with Brett Donnelly upfront.

The game started with a flurry of chances and in the first 3 minutes Callum Donnelly shot over and brother Brett had a header saved before Histon then forced two good saves from Charlie Horlock from Danny Gould and Evan Key before 10 minutes had been completed.

Hitchin conceded the first goal when Pearson was caught in possession by Ryan Auger whose finish gave Horlock no chance in the 9th minute. With confidence dented by recent results this was not the start Hitchin wanted. Kirkpatrick hit a really good shot just over the bar before Brett Donnelly missed a good close range chance that Denzel Gerrar saved.

Burns shot wide after Callum Donnelly set him up as Hitchin continued to create chances and their deserved equaliser came after 26 minutes. A Rolfe free kick was headed on by Brett Donnelly and McNamara smashed home with a brilliant finish.

However Hitchin again fell behind 9 minutes later when a free kick was headed on to the far post where Jack Uttridge provided the finish. So Hitchin  went in at half time with plenty of work to do in what was a key fixture in the context of the rest of the season as a further defeat would have really affected confidence and morale.

But to Hitchin’s great credit they did not feel sorry for themselves and really took the game to Histon in the second half and were dominant throughout as Histon dropped deeper and deeper with more and more men behind the ball. Apart from an early chance for Joe Carden Histon rarely threatened but it seemed like it could be one of those days for Hitchin with the ball just not running for them.

Brett Donnelly shot over the bar in the 52nd minute and at this stage Kane Smith replaced Pearson. Smith had been suffering from illness and did not train Thursday but his powerful runs down the right flank really caused Histon problems. Young Kieran Barnes replaced Brett Donnelly and Burns moved up front. The pressure continued to build and Callum Donnelly was just wide before Hitchin equalised with a brilliant goal in the 79th minute. Smith produced the perfect cross and Burns headed home in some style. Hitchin now scented victory and McNamara was thwarted by Gerrar before another excellent goal completed the comeback. A good move saw McNamara set up Callum Donnelly and he finished with aplomb In the 88th minute as Hitchin again demonstrated the resilience that has served them so well this season. The 401 strong crowd went home happy and the Hers Senior Cup semi final with St Albans  now awaits on Monday.

Burke said he was happy with the disciplined way Hitchin played in the second half and the fact that they continued to play football even when fate seemed against them. Surely confidence will now be boosted  after this sterling comeback and there remains a great deal to play for the rest of the season.

Teams

Hitchin:  Horlock, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Ann, Webb, Pearson, McNamara, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Burns, Kirkpatrick  Subs Smith for Pearson 62, Martin, Palmiero, Barnes for B Donnelly 72, Wright

Histon:  Gerrer, Smith, Uttridge, Key, Gleeson, Rumens, Gould, McGeorge, Carden, Auger, Freeman  Subs  Sibanda forUttridge 46, Brown, Oyinsan for Carden 69, Allan for Gould 58

Bookings

Hitchin  Rolfe

Histon  McGeorge and Key

Attendance 401

Roy Izzard



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