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Hitchin Town 2 Hendon 2

Thursday, July 21 2016

The 147 fans who turned up for this pre-season friendly certainly got good value. They saw four goals, three red cards and the debut of Top Field's new floodlights.  
Maybe the half hour delay to kick off – caused by traffic problems on the M1 and the A1 – had resulted in the players champing at the bit. However barely five minutes into the game, and shortly after Will Wright's effort from a corner had gone wide, the game exploded.  
A rash Hitchin challenge sparked a brawl involving both teams and substitutes. After a lengthy delay while order was restored, the referee issued red cards firstly to Diedhiou of Hendon and to Brett Donnelly. These were followed by a further card for Callum Donnelly. The two Hitchin players trudged back to the changing room although for some reason Diedhiou remained beside the visitors' dugout. 
It was not clear whether the referee was implementing the new FA edicts on conduct, or why he did not show flexibility and ask for the offending players to be substituted. However it meant 85 minutes of 9 v 10, which would have thrown both managers' game plans up in the air.  
Despite the one man disadvantage, Hitchin had chances with McBride turning an effort wide and Dan Webb just failing to connect with a Walster freekick. 
However Hendon took the lead on 24 minutes when McCall tapped past Barrett after good work by Binns. Barrett had no chance with that one but did keep the scoreline down with good saves before and after the goal. 
Hitchin bounced back though and, after Lench had shot wide to end a good passing move, he was involved in the equaliser just before the break. He reached a cross ahead of the Hendon keeper and headed the ball on for Webb running in at the far post to slide the ball home. 
HALF TIME Hitchin Town 1 Hendon 1 
The interval saw Top Field's new floodlights switched on and they are impressive with the whole of the ground being bathed in light.  
Hitchin fielded a much altered side after the break – with only Burns and Sam Barker staying on from the first half. And it was Burns who fired home to give the Canaries the lead on 47 minutes.  
Barker then went close with a shot from distance that brought a good save from Norris. Although the line-up had changed, Hitchin continued to make good use of the ball to reduce the numeric disadvantage. Mason Spence embarked on a mazy run and Norris had to be alert the gather the final shot. Spence also tried to set up Brooks for a run on goal, although the Hendon defender eased the striker off the ball well. 
Both keepers had to be alert as Johnson pulled off a double save from DaCosta and Ibe, while Norris saved a Coley flick on from a Riley cross. In the final minute though, the dangerous Da Costa was fouled by Hull in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and DaCosta himself sent Johnson the wrong way. 
FULL TIME Hitchin Town 2 Hendon 2 
It will be interesting to hear what Mark Burke made of the match. However the energy levels as well as the passing and possession of the Canaries squad were such that Hendon's one man advantage was hard to notice. Hitchin now travel to AFC Dunstable on Saturday as the pre season campaign gathers pace. 

Hitchin Town 
First half  – Barrett, Wright, Walster, Rolfe, Webb, Kirkpatrick, McBride, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, S Barker, Lench; sub Burns for McBride 
Second half – Johnson, Spence, Pearson, Payne, Hull, Barnes, Brooks, Burns, S Barker; subs Coley for Brooks, Riley for S Barker, Mulholland for Burns, A Barker for Barnes 
Norris, Seeby, Cousins, Murphy, Diedhiou, McCall, Binns, Maclaren, Muir, Assi, Vassell; subs A DaCosta (for McCall), Balogan (for Binns), Knight (for Vassell), Cole (for Maclaren), Achille (for Cousins), Tingey (for Seebey), Bettache (for Assi), K DaCosta (for Murphy), Ibe (for Muir) 
Hitchin Town – Webb (39), Burns (47) 
Hendon – McCall (24), DaCosta (90, pen) 
Red cards 
Hitchin Town
– B Donnelly, C Donnelly 
Hendon – Diedhiou 

Attendance 147

Colin (photo thanks to Peter Else)

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