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Redditch United 3 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, February 27 2016

Hitchin now have the luxury of no midweek game after three really difficult games against top six sides in the space of eight days. Mark Burke thought tiredness was a contributory factor to this defeat as the two previous games on heavy pitches took their toll. In contrast Redditch had not played midweek and definitely finished the game stronger as Hitchin showed signs of fatigue in a game that was always closely fought with little to choose between the two sides.
Redditch showed why they are doing so well as they were organised at the back, worked really hard to close Hitchin down and had a real threat up front and as Burke had suggested before the game had much in common with Hitchin.
The same starting line up for a third successive game was no surprise and Hitchin kicked up the slope in the first half. Dan Webb produced a timely tackle as Luke Shearer prepared  to shoot after 5 minutes and Hitchin replied with a Kane Smith cross that was headed straight at keeper Jose Veiga by Morgan Spence. Alasan Ann tried an overhead kick which went over the bar then the Smith Spence combination led to another header from a cross that was saved.
Redditch still offered danger up front and Shearer shot wide before Smith produced a brilliant tackle to deny him as he seemed likely to score. Then Brett Donnelly tried a speculative shot before Ann seized on a short corner from Lucas Kirkpatrick but his effort went over the bar. It was goalless at half time but Hitchin perhaps shaded the first half.
Just three minutes in to the second half an excellent twisting run from Jonny McNamara finished with a drilled shot that beat Veiga to put Hitchin in front. McNamara, Brett Donnelly and Jordan Cullinane-Liburd were booked in the aftermath of the goal celebrations.
Redditch equalised with an hour on the clock after Callum Donnelly was penalised for a foul and Ashley Sammons produced a brilliant free kick that went over the wall leaving Charlie Horlock helpless. After the goal there were signs that Hitchin were beginning to tire and Redditch put them under more pressure and it was no great surprise when substitute Danico Johnson tucked home Robbie Thompson-Brown’s cross after 80 minutes.
Robbie Burns replaced Spence but Johnson added his second goal in the first minute of injury time converting Sammons’ pass after Hitchin had been pushing for the equaliser. There was still time for Callum Donnelly to score from close range after 93 minutes and just before the final whistle Burns headed a McNamara cross wide.
So it was three points from the three tough games which did scant justice to Hitchin’s performances. However the games proved Hitchin to be credible play off candidates and they are still in fourth place with everything to play for. The players remain upbeat and if anything have gained further belief from the three games and a restful week should set them up for the two home games with Dorchester and Cambridge City.

Hitchin - Horlock, Smith, Walster, Ann, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Spence, Kirkpatrick  Subs Burns for Spence 81, Pearson, Leavers, Palmiero, Barnes
Redditch - Veiga, Bako, Cullinane-Liburd, Carline, Flanagan, Richards, Thompson-Brown, Loveridge, Shearer, Sammons, Hallahan  Subs Young for Thompson-Brown 90+1, Johnson for Hallahan 69, Molyneux for Shearer 76, Bridgewater

Hitchin - McNamara 47, C Donnelly 90+3

Redditch -Sammon 56, Johnson 80 and 90


Hitchin - Kirkpatrick, B Donnelly and McNamara
Redditch - Cullinane-Liburd and Thompson-Brown
Attendance - 381
Roy Izzard

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