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Hitchin Town 1 Cambridge City 0

Monday, October 17 2016

It took a last minute, “Route One” goal from substitute Callum Donnelly to break Cambridge’s resistance at Top Field last night. Until  that point there had been frustration and a concern that the visitors might even steal the three points.

This was not the same Cambridge team - in personnel or spirit - that had succumbed easily in the reverse fixture a few weeks ago. While they relied on their keeper Enol Ordanez on a number of occasions, they also looked dangerous on the break with Cardon and Mason.

Lucas Kirkpatrick had an early shot from outside the box that Ordonez parried and then did well to collect before Burns could follow up. 

At the other end, Cardon broke down the right side - once being shepherded safely by Pearson and on another occasion not finding a colleague with his cut back from the line. 

As Hitchin turned the screw, Ordonez had to be alert as a high ball found Brett Donnelly onside just in the Cambridge half. The keeper rushed out to clear before the striker could think about lobbing him. The keeper also denied Matt Lench’s effort from a Kane Smith cross and, in the resulting scramble, the visiting defence cleared Lench’s second effort and Smith then shot just wide.

Ordonez’s best save of the first period though came after Burns played the ball out to Smith and then met the resulting cross with a firm header which the keeper cleared.
Before the interval, Cambridge had one other good chance from a corner as Williams met the ball at the far post but the home defence scrambled the danger away.

Half Time - Hitchin Town 0 Cambridge City 0

The second half saw Hitchin continue to have more possession but this was marred by misdirected passes and a failure to test the keeper. Burns set off on a driving run into the Cambridge half but ran into a defender before he could get a shot away while Lewis Rolfe spurned a chance in front of goal when he let the ball run to where he thought Donnelly was waiting.

Cambridge continued to threaten on the break with Lopes on two occasions and Mason getting into good positions only for their efforts to be off target or for the Canary defence to clear.

As on Saturday, Mark Burke made use of all his substitutes as he brought on Josh Coley, Josh Bickerstaff and, with 20 minutes left, Callum Donnelly. This did not pay immediate dividends although one intelligent chipped pass from Rolfe nearly located Coley trying to get in behind the defence. 

Ordanez was in action again to save from another Kirkpatrick drive, but Cambridge broke in reply and Man of the Match Dan Webb needed to deflect Cardon's shot for a corner.

Hitchin’s best chance then fell to Brett Donnelly. Ordonez rushed out and the ball fell to Brett about 30 yards out. He saw his placed effort just drift agonisingly wide. 

With five minutes remaining, Cambridge continued to look dangerous. Mason had two good runs at the Hitchin defence - the first ending in a free kick which the Canary defensive wall cleared, and the second seeing the winger fire over.

Then as the seconds ran down, Johnson sent one last long ball into the Cambridge half. It was picked up by Callum Donnelly who lobbed Ordonez and the keeper could not backpedal to prevent the ball finding the net and clinching the points for Hitchin.

Cambridge will definitely feel hard done by and, while the three points is the most important thing, Hitchin rode their luck in achieving them.

Full Time - Hitchin Town 1 Cambridge City 0

Hitchin Town - Johnson, Smith, Walster, Rolfe, Webb, Pearson, Ann, Kirkpatrick, B Donnelly, Burns, Lench; subs - Wright, Bickerstaff (for Walster), Coley (for Lench), Verney, C Donnelly (for Burns)
Cambridge City - Ordonez, Cooper, Day, Kaye, Williams, Utteridge, Cardon, Okay, Lopes, Ramadan, Mason; subs - Adewunmi (for Lopes), Ramires (for Cardon), Femiola (for Ramadan), Midgley, Gleason

Hitchin Town - C Donnelly (90)

Yellow card
Cambridge City - Lopes

Hitchin Town MOTM - Dan Webb

Attendance - 294

Colin, photo by Peter Else

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