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Cambridge City 0 Hitchin Town‏ 4

Monday, September 12 2016

Manager Mark Burke has suffered a frustrating start to the season as before Saturday he had been missing up to six players in all the games played. But at last the squad is approaching full strength once more and the difference is there for all to see. Indeed Burke’s problems are now how to keep players happy rather than wondering how to fill gaps in personnel. Last night the bench was very strong—Lewis McBride, Sam Barker, Kieran Barnes, Stuart Pearson and Will Wright—and waiting in the wings are Ali Ann, Mason Spence, Josh Coley, Liam Brooks, Alfie Barker and Charlie Payne  with only Zac Barrett a longer term absentee. It will be a test for the manager to keep everyone happy!

Hitchin went in to the game with Cambridge City in good spirits after consecutive wins against Biggleswade United, Potters Bar and Basingstoke and they produced what Burke described as  ‘’the most complete performance of the season so far. We built on the dominant performance we produced against Basingstoke and added goals to the mix. I was very happy with the display’’. Hitchin had the luxury of naming an unchanged side with even the substitutes the same as Saturday. From the very first whistle Hitchin took charge of the game and they were in total control in the first half, playing at a very high tempo.

Robbie Burns struck the bar after just six minutes and Hitchin would not be denied for much longer. In the seventeenth minute a clever long pass from Kane Smith set Callum Donnelly free and he produced a clever lob over goalkeeper Enol Ordonez to give Hitchin a deserved lead. The second goal came after a foolish off the ball challenge by Ordonez on goal scorer Donnelly that the referee saw as Callum was wrestled to the ground for a clear penalty. Ben Walster smashed home to double Hitchin’s lead in the 35th minute.

Michael Johnson was just a spectator as Cambridge offered little threat while Hitchin were constantly on the front foot. Burns had a shot deflected over the bar while Brett Donnelly had a "goal" chalked off for offside. Indeed the half ended even worse for Cambridge as Charlie Woolfe was stretchered off just before half time.

It would have been difficult for Hitchin to maintain their intensity for the second half and Cambridge did have more possession without ever threatening to score as Hitchin were very strong defensively. Barker and McBride replaced the Donnelly brothers early on and Hitchin still looked more dangerous than Cambridge, The third goal came after 77 minutes and was started by an excellent Matt Lench pass. It found Burns who produced a brilliant finish giving Ordonez no chance.

For the rest of the game Hitchin were rampant and the score line could have been even more emphatic. The fourth goal was a clever finish from Barnes after another great move involving McBride, Burns and Smith. That was the 89th minute but there was still time for Lucas Kirkpatrick to hit the post and Lench to come very close to another goal. But a third consecutive clean sheet and fourth consecutive victory was the perfect outcome on a St Ives pitch that is far from conducive to good flowing football.

Continuity is helping confidence and the selection options now available mean no player can be certain of his place in the side, which is exactly how Mark Burke would want it to be.

Cambridge City - Ordonez, Cooper, Day, Norman, Femiola, Williams, Serrano, Kaye, Woolfe, Ramadan, Okay; Subs Mason for Serrano HT, Adewunmi for Woolfe 43, Lopes, Uttridge, Loker
Hitchin Town - Johnson, Smith, Walster, Bickerstaff, Webb, Rolfe, Lench, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Burns, Kirkpatrick; Subs Wright, Barnes for Bickerstaff 85, McBride for B Donnelly 63, Pearson, S Barker for C Donnelly 51.

Hitchin Town - C Donnelly 17,  Walster pen 35, Burns 77, Barnes 89

Cambridge City - Ordonez, Day and Woolfe
Hitchin Town - Smith, Rolfe and Bickerstaff

Attendance - 231

Roy Izzard

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