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Hitchin Town 1 Chesham United 1

Tuesday, August 16 2016

Hitchin and Chesham had to share the points in an entertaining and closely contested game under the new Top Field floodlights.

The Canaries injury list already looks daunting with Webb, Barrett, Sam Barker and Ann all absent along with Bickerstaff. They were able to field Ben Walster despite his red card on Saturday, and to welcome Brett Donnelly back to the bench.

Chesham came into the match on the back of two wins and with Drew Roberts and Sam Youngs in good goal-scoring form and Michael Johnson was called into early action to confidently cut out a number of crosses.

At the other end, veteran keeper Ashlee Jones was required to deny the advancing Robbie Burns after he had been put through by Stuart Pearson. He also had to keep out a header from Mason Spence following a Callum Donnelly cross.

At the other end, Blake evaded Wright and set up Roberts for a shot which flew over, and Johnson did well to palm away a curling Pearce freekick that might just have crept under the bar.

As both sides pushed for an opener, Walster bravely cleared from Martin at the second attempt, after Chesham had started to deploy Crilly's long throws.

Matt Lench was influential in setting up Hitchin's attacks and he came closest to a goal just before the interval. His dipping volley from distance forced Jones across his goal to bring off a fine diving save.

HALF TIME Hitchin Town 0 Chesham United 0

The game continued to ebb and flow in the second period. Liam Brooks, who had been full of running against Chesham's experienced defence, had an effort charged down, while Pearce fired just wide at the other end.

Johnson had to be alert to save from Blake after the forward capitalised on confusion in the Canary defence to take the ball beyond two defenders.

Jones did well to save a freekick from distance by Lench after Brooks had been brought down. The forward also brought a rash challenge from Longdon as he broke over the halfway line to ease pressure on the Hitchin defence. The full back was booked for his troubles.

It was Brooks who finally broke the deadlock just past the hour. His initial shot was charged down for a corner. When the set piece was played in, Jones failed to gather and Brooks applied the final touch.

Chesham pushed for the leveller - heading just over the bar - and the Canaries were also set back as they were required to make an enforced change. Kirkpatrick limped off, with Brooks dropping back and Coley coming on up front. It was a matter of minutes later that Chesham equalised. The Generals won a freekick just outside the area on the left side. Roberts took the kick and finally got the better of Johnson as his effort took a wicked deflection to leave the Hitchin keeper stranded on 79 minutes.

Both sides pressed for a winner and Burns made himself space in the box from a Spence corner before setting up Donnelly for a shot that flew over. The skipper had another shot off target, again teed up by Burns from a Lench freekick. 

However Chesham came closest at the end as Youngs fired wide with a volley and then Johnson got down well to stop a Hamilton-Forbes shot, before a Roberts chance was scrambled away.

However, as the final whistle blew, a draw was a fair reflection of the evening's play. Mark Burke will now need to take stock of the injury list ahead of Saturday's trip to Stratford Town.

FINAL SCORE Hitchin Town 1 Chesham United 1 


Hitchin Town - Johnson, Wright, Walster, Lench, Pearson, Rolfe, Spence, C Donnelly, Brooks, Burns, Kirkpatrick

Subs - Coley (for Kirkpatrick 75), Barnes, A Barker, McBride, B Donnelly
Chesham United - Jones, Longdon, Little, Crilley, Purse, Martin, Pearce, Youngs, Blake, Roberts, Wilson
Subs - Fenton, Wadkins (for Blake 85), Ford, Hamilton-Forbes (for Wilson 80), Taylor (for Pearce 80)

Hitchin Town - Brooks (61)
Chesham United - Roberts (79)

Yellow cards
Hitchin Town -  Brooks, Lench, Rolfe
Chesham United - Longdon

Hitchin Town MOTM - Matt Lench

Attendance - 362

Colin, photo by Peter Else

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