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Dunstable Town 2 Hitchin Town 1

Monday, August 29 2016

Tony Fontanelleís side have started the season in good form and they won the decisive moments of this Bank Holiday game to frustrate the Canaries.

Hitchin made one change from Saturdayís starting line-up with Robbie Burns replacing Kieran Barnes. The Canaries gave as good as they got in the early stages with Liam Brooks turning and shooting over and Burns firing wide. At the other end, the hosts caused some scares in the Hitchin box including a header from a David Keenleyside freekick that Michael Johnson scrambled away down at the foot of the post. The keeper also made a good save to parry a shot from the in-form Alex Cathline for a corner.

However on 23 minutes the striker got his goal, receiving the ball with his back to goal, turning and firing low to Johnsonís right hand side. Shane Bush came close soon afterwards as he headed a Keenleyside corner just over.

At the other end, Brett Donnelly was getting little change from the central pairing of Joseph Depayo and Adam Pepara - the fluency of Hitchinís passing didnít reach the levels of Saturdayís first half but Dunstable didnít allow it to as they closed down quickly and effectively.

Matt Lench was instrumental in trying to make things happen as he forced goalkeeper Jack Smith to collect under pressure from a freekick, and delivered another dead ball that Dan Webb headed onto the roof of the net. Will Wright also headed a Callum Donnelly free kick wide just before the break.†

HALF TIME: Dunstable Town 1 Hitchin Town 0

After the break, Hitchin dictated more of the play and the Dunstable defence had to be alert to clear a string of corners.†

However the danger at the other end remained. Cathline had another chance as the hosts broke but he miscued. Ex-Canary Jai Dhillon also brought a good save from Johnson as the full back cut inside and shot.

Josh Coley came on for Brooks and brought the best out of Smith. He ran on to a flick-on by Lench and put in a shot that Smith turned aside for a corner. Lench then fired over while off balance after Dunstable failed to clear a free kick. Pepara also needed to ensure another run by Coley came to nothing. At this point Hitchin had the upper hand through Lenchís delivery and Lewis Rolfe carrying the ball through the middle.†

However a telling finish was missing and Hitchin paid the price in the 74th minute. Webb was robbed and the ball came to the substitute Vences Bola. He accelerated past Josh Bickerstaff and unleashed a shot that beat Johnson at his near post.

Dunstable continued to protect their lead and might have extended it on the counter. Hitchin had a shout for a Zac Reynolds handball but the defender broke, passed to the pacy Bola who crossed only for Cathline to miscue.

Hitchin did receive a lifeline as the game entered stoppage time. Burns was shaping to shoot as he was brought down by Reynolds. The defender was red carded and a penalty was awarded. Wright took the spot kick but Smith dived to keep it out, only for Burns to administer justice and fire the rebound home.

Hitchin had one more shout for a handball in the box but no decision was given and the points went to Dunstable, who briefly topped the table as a result. Fontanelle appears to have put together a side with a good blend of power, pace and craft. Hitchin need to ensure they have the right balance as they face two possible banana skins in their upcoming cup ties.

Full time: Dunstable Town 2 Hitchin Town 1

Teams:
Dunstable Town - Smith, Reynolds, Dhillon, Talbot, Depayo, Pepera, Keenleyside, Green, Cathline, Bush, Hutchinson; †subs - Bola (for Keenleyside), Head, Longeking (for Talbot), Moussi (for Hutchinson), Somuga
Hitchin - Johnson, Smith, Bickerstaff, Wright, Webb, Rolfe, Lench, Callum Donnelly, Brett Donnelly, Brooks, Burns; subs - Barnes (for Brett Donnelly), Payne, Coley (for Brooks), Barker, Riley

Goals:
Dunstable Town - Cathline (23), Bola (74)
Hitchin Town - Burns (90)

Yellow cards:
Dunstable Town - Reynolds
Hitchin Town - Callum Donnelly, Rolfe

Red cards:

Dunstable Town - Reynolds

Attendance: 254

Colin




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