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Hitchin Town 0 Luton Town 0

Friday, July 17 2015

Fans expecting a repeat of Tuesday's goal feast didn't get what they came for but they did see Hitchin and Luton play out an entertaining 0-0 draw in this friendly. Although the visitors had the clearest opportunities, the Canaries caused problems for the League 2 side while defending well throughout in front of a second impressive Top Field crowd in a matter of days.

Hitchin began with most of the starting line up from Tuesday except for Arlick and Kirkpatrick instead of Martin and Pearson, and playing with four at the back.

They withstood a muscular start from Luton, with McNulty and McQuoid both making their presence felt. From the latters foul on Lench, Hitchin passed well around the edge of the Luton box but couldn't get in a telling shot.

At the other end, Horlock made the first of a string of good saves before McGeehan was blocked before he could get in a shot.

Play flowed from end to end with Hitchin passing confidently - Potts intervened before Arlick could get a shot in after being given the chance by Smith and Donnelly, while Lench tried to place a header at the far post after a Rolfe cross.

For Luton, new signing Mackail-Smith looked threatening. He found space to run at the defence after a Webb slip but his dangerous low cross was cleared by Charlie Smith. He then found space for a shot after beating two defenders and forced a fine save out of Horlock, before being beaten by the offside flag after taking the ball past Ann.

Horlock continued to keep Luton at bay as fluent approach play gave McGeehan the chance to shoot bringing a diving save to the keeper's left.

As the half drew to a close, Callum Donnelly brought a regulation save from Justham with a long shot while McNamara was offside as he shot over from an angle.

HALF TIME Hitchin Town 0 Luton Town 0

Hitchin made one half time substitution with Barker replacing Charlie Smith in the centre of midfield, while Luton put out a much changed side with 6 changes from the first half. Hitchin continued to try and take the game to Luton and good build up on the left saw a through ball dummied by Kirkpatrick to reach McNamara. However he sliced his shot wide.

The home side continued to be alert in defence though and Horlock made a great double save as he firstly cut out a cross from Lawless on the right. The ball fell loose as he was challenged but he then smothered the resulting shot.

Hitchin continued to ring the changes from the bench as Kane Smith made his first appearance of the season, coming on alongside Martin and Johnson.

The home defence was still equal to Luton's efforts with Alasan Ann showing composure to snuff out threats. Johnson and Webb then combined well after Lawless - who had looked impressive when running at the defence - fired in a shot. Johnson got a hand to it and Webb cleared the ball off the line.

Martin nearly made an impression with a shot that went between two Luton defenders; it looked like it might beat the unsighted Mehmet at his near post but the keeper just gathered.

Luton however posed more of the threats late in the game as Hitchin brought on Corran for Ann and Brooks for Kirkpatrick.

Mackail-Smith tried an acrobatic overhead kick from a Lawless cross but the effort flew over, and then the striker turned provider to set up McQuoid for a shot which he fired over. Lawless then hit the bar before Kane Smith cleared off the line. Mackail-Smith then jinked past Bickerstaff to deliver a cross which Corran was able to clear away.

In the final stages, Griffiths went close with a header from a Luton corner. However Hitchin held on to record a deserved draw with a spirited positive performance that showed plenty of promise for the coming season.

FULL TIME Hitchin Town 0 Luton Town 0

Horlock, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Ann, Webb, Kirkpatrick, McNamara, Callum Donnelly, Arlick, C Smith, Lench
Subs Corran (for Ann), Johnson (for Horlock), Pearson, Walster, Brooks (for Kirkpatrick), K Smith (for Donnelly), Barker (for C Smith), Payne (for McNamara), Martin (for Arlick)

Luton (first half):
Justham, O'Donnell, Potts, McNulty, Cuthbert, McGeehan, Mackail-Smith, Doyle, Guttridge, McQuoid, Wilkinson

(second half):
Mehmet, Potts, J Smith, Cuthbert, Lawless, Mackail-Smith, Griffiths, McCourt, Doyle, O'Brien, McQuoid (sub Banton)

Attendance 1661

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