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Kettering Town 1 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, April 2 2016

Hitchin will be pleased to have kept up the play-off pace and also maintained their points advantage over their in-form hosts. By the end of the game it seemed that both teams were happy to go home with a point apiece although Hitchin had the edge in terms of posession.

The Poppies certainly had the edge at the start of a match played on a hard dry surface. In the 3rd minute, an effort by Canavan wasn't cleared and Weir-Daley was on hand to volley the ball home.

A goal down to a team on a two month unbeaten run, and with a squad full of experienced players, Hitchin's task might have appeared daunting but the Canaries fought their way back into the match.

Although Canavan fired wide for Kettering, Hitchin started to create at least half chances. Robbie Burns shot on the turn but fired over the bar, while Jonny McNamara was flagged offside after running on to a neat through ball. Brett Donnelly also fell foul of the flag after appearing to be onside in a dangerous position on the edge of the six yard box.

As the half time whistle approached, Brighton had another effort for Kettering but was off target, while Canavan also looped the ball over after good work by Popa and Carvalho. Apart from the early goal, both defences had been on top and Horlock and Hill in the respective goals had not been overwhelmed.  

HALF TIME Kettering Town 1 Hitchin Town 0

The start of the second half mirrored the first as Hitchin snatched an early goal. On 52 minutes a long clearance from Charlie Horlock was glanced on by Brett Donnelly. It fell to Callum Donnelly who chipped goalwards from an angle to beat Hill and level the scores.

Chances were at a premium - Dan Webb met a Kirkpatrick freekick but his header was off target while, at the other end, Weir-Daley snatched at a shot when played in while in a good position.

Robbie Burns forced a save from Hill with another shot, while the Poppies defence also had to scramble away a corner before Webb could make connection with the ball. 

As defences continued to dominate in the final minutes - reflected by the nomination of Mulligan as the home side's Man of the Match - Brighton glanced a Kettering corner over while Webb did the same at the other end. 

The Canaries could be pleased with another resilient defensive performance, and with the return from illness of Kane Smith, who came on as a late substitute. With Matt Lench also returning to the match day squad, this will give options despite suspensions and injuries kicking in during the run-in. The Canaries now have an unexpected week off ahead of the to of the table clash at Top Field next Saturday against Poole Town.

FINAL SCORE Kettering Town 1 Hitchin Town 1 

Hitchin - Horlock, Wright, Walster, Bickerstaff, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Burns, Kirkpatrick; 
Subs - Smith (for McNamara), Brooks, Barnes, Lench
Kettering - Hill, Bateman, Langdon, Carruthers, Mulligan, Pepe-Ngona, Carvalho, Canavan, Popa, Weir-Daley, Brighton; 
Subs - Cota, Grocott (for Weir-Daley), Howe (for Popa), Solkhon (for Canavan), Stephens


Kettering - Weir-Daley 3

Hitchin - Callum Donnelly 52

Yellow cards

Kettering - Canavan

Hitchin - none

Attendance - 673

Colin, photo by Peter Else

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