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Poole Town 1 Hitchin Town 0

Tuesday, February 23 2016

Hitchin can consider themselves very unfortunate to have returned from their top of the table clash with Poole with no reward. They more than matched Poole and it was just the lack of a cutting edge that proved their undoing. This game really underlined that Hitchin are serious promotion contenders and are a match for the top sides in the league.
As expected manager Mark Burke selected the same team that beat Hungerford with Robbie Burns fit enough to take a place on the bench. On the notorious Poole playing surface that was very heavy in places Hitchin made a confident start without creating any clear chances. Poole were dangerous down both flanks with Luke Burbidge looking a quality player. Tony Lee had an overhead kick go over the bar while Brett Donnelly failed to make a solid connection to a dangerous cross  and shot wide after 26 minutes.
Just two minutes later Poole took the lead after Callum Donnelly fouled Burbidge. From the resulting free kick Lee provided a telling cross that was headed home by Luke Roberts. The goal did not affect Hitchin’s confidence and new signing Mason Spence produced an excellent run that ended with a shot that Nick Hutchings saved. Hitchin were unlucky to be behind at half time and came out for the second half in a positive frame of mind.
The second half saw Charlie Horlock a virtual spectator as Hitchin dominated possession. Callum Donnelly had a shot deflected wide before Jonny McNamara was adamant he should have won a penalty when he certainly appeared to be fouled in the 65th minute.
As the half wore on Kane Smith became more influential with some trademark excursions down the wing and dangerous crosses but it was becoming apparent this was one of those nights when the ball would just not run Hitchin’s way. The last ten minutes saw Poole with virtually all their team behind the ball as they tried to hang on and they did not threaten Hitchin’s defence. A fine move started by Smith saw Callum Donnelly produce a dangerous cross that nobody could get contact with before he later shot just wide.
Poole are now unbeaten in ten games and on their own ground their unbeaten run is now 15 games and the fact that Hitchin caused them so many problems showed just how far this Hitchin side have come. The players seemed in a very determined mood after this defeat and will take a great deal of self belief from this performance. It again was a real team effort but Dan Webb had another immaculate game and is playing with great composure. Another tough game at Redditch on Saturday will complete a run of three games against fellow top six clubs in eight days.

Hitchin  Horlock, Smith, Walster, Ann, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Spence, Kirkpatrick  Subs  Martin, Johnson, Barnes, Burns for B Donnelly.

Poole Hutchings, Dickson, Tallack, Lindsay, Whisken, Pettefer, Burbidge, Devlin, Roberts, Brooks, Lee  Subs Holgate for Lee 68,Rees, Gleeson for Devlin 11, Davis, Walker
Hitchin  Ann and Rolfe
Poole Pettefer
Attendance 329
Roy Izzard (photo by Peter Else)

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