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Slough Town 1 Hitchin Town 0

Saturday, January 23 2016

Slough emerged from their enforced mid-season break with a deserved win which left Hitchin hanging on to a play off place by goal difference. The Canaries had their share of opportunities but looked less cohesive than the hosts. 
Hitchin welcomed back Dan Webb, with Lewis Rolfe moving to midfield and Simon Martin standing down.  
The first clear chances fell to the hosts. Horlock did well to gather at the feet of Mpi but then did even better to stop a fierce drive from the left side by Lewis Putman, a player who had previously interested Hitchin. Mpi also fired over after being set up by Putman. 
There was a feisty undercurrent to the game and, while Rumbold drove Slough forward the home skipper was also lucky to escape a card for bringing down Donnelly in the middle of the park. The Hitchin captain also appeared to be wrestled down in the box by Hollis shortly afterwards. 
Hitchin's first good chance came via a Burns header from a McNamara cross. Scott had to be alert to palm the effort away. 
Much of Hitchin's threat was coming from McNamara, who had been in a spat with ex Canary Jhai Dillon. He nearly took revenge as he was played in neatly by Kirkpatrick only for good defending by Hollis to take the ball from his feet for a corner.  
Donnelly also forced a save from Scott after a corner was cleared to him on the edge of the area. 
There was a sense that a goal was on the way and it arrived in the 43rd minute. The ball wasn't cleared on the left side of Hitchin's goal and found its way to Putman in too much space on the opposite flank. From an angle he fired across the face of goal to give Horlock no chance. 
Hitchin nearly replied straight away, as they did against Frome, but this time the shot from Burns flew over. 
Half Time – Slough Town 1 Hitchin Town 0 
The referee was in action at the start of the second half as Donnelly and Putman continued the needle that had existed through the match. 
Horlock was called into action with a shot from Warren Harris and Alasan Ann cleared any further danger. However Hitchin had some half chances as they looked to get back into the game. A good ball by Ann found Smith running into the box but Slough managed to clear the danger for a corner. Hollis then brought down Kirkpatrick as he was running across the face of the area. After the referee had issued a yellow card, Ann's free kick lacked placement and went high over Scott's crossbar. 
However The Rebels were defending effectively and too many of Hitchin's passes were being mopped up easily. The hosts should also have put the game out of reach when Mpi broke down the left side and crossed for Barney. He was well placed in front of goal and needed only a clean connection to score, However he got under the ball and it went wide.  
Mark Burke brought Brett Donnelly on for Lucas Kirkpatrick and the substitute cut the ball back for McNamara but on this occasion Scott did not need to save. He did shortly afterwards when Burns received the ball from Brett Donnelly and headed into the path of McNamara. However the keeper was able to gather the shot. 
At the other end, Horlock kept the margin down to one with a double save from Putman and then Scott Harris.  
While Slough's pitch was perfectly playable, the last period of the match was played out under only 4 of 6 floodlights but it was Hitchin that were left in the dark as half chances came and went. The best fell to Burns who forced a great save from Scott from a powerful shot, while McNamara had one more effort and both Brett Donnelly and McNamara failed to get decisive touches on the ball in a goalmouth scramble. 
The Canaries left empty handed and two consecutive league defeats make next week's journey to Paulton Rovers all the more important against hosts that will be scrapping against relegation.  
FINAL SCORE Slough Town 1 Hitchin Town 0 
Slough - Scott, Fraser, Dhillon, Hollis, Hicks, Rumbold, Putman, Webb, Mpi, Barney, Warren Harris; subs - Sear, Gokman (for W Harris), Scott Harris (for Barney), Smith 
Hitchin - Horlock, Smith, Bickerstaff, Ann, Webb, Walster, McNamara, Callum Donnelly, Kirkpatrick, Burns, Rolfe; Subs - Brett Donnelly (for Kirkpatrick), Wright, Johnson, Brooks, Barnes 
Yellow cards 
Slough - Hollis 
Hitchin - Ann 
Attendance – 314 

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