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Hitchin Town 5 Kings Lynn Town 0

Saturday, February 25 2017

Hitchin Town returned to winning ways after two recent draws. They swept the Linnets aside in an exhilarating first half of attacking football. The Canaries halted King’s Lynn’s own recent run and gave Ian Culverhouse the worst possible start in the Linnets “hot seat”.

Mark Burke continued to use his full squad with Mason Spence and Matt Lench both starting and the Canaries returning to a formation with a false number 9. The dynamism and movement of the team was too much for a Kings Lynn side that was unbeaten in 8 matches but had suffered a couple of player departures along with former manager Gary Setchell.

Callum Donnelly opened the floodgates on two minutes, volleying home when the visitor’s defence failed to clear their lines. Kings Lynn’s defence looked shaky and Lench and Spence both had half chances. Top scorer Robbie Burns doubled the lead on 14 minutes anticipating a Kane Smith cross and flicking the ball over keeper Alex Street. Burns was then denied another by the offside flag.

The visitors were struggling to spend any time at the other end of the pitch. They had one half chance as McWilliams shot wide after capitalising on a hurried clearance by Michael Johnson.

Neat play between Mason Spence and Burns gave Matt Lench the chance to curl home the third goal on 24 minutes as Hitchin relentlessly pressurised the King's Lynn defence. 

In another rare Kings Lynn attack, Johnson spilled the ball at the expense of a corner after stopping a shot. However the keeper made amends by calmly gathering the corner.

Hitchin’s first half superiority was rewarded again on 43 minutes. Callum Donnelly played in Burns whose shot was palmed aside by Street. Lucas Kirkpatrick was quickest to follow up to slide the ball home to end a superb 45 minutes.

Half time - Hitchin Town 4 Kings Lynn Town 0

It looked like the visitors would endure an equally torrid second half when Kane Smith attacked down the right and delivered the ball on a plate for Burns to slot home his second after 47 minutes. 

However the Linnets tried to get a foothold in the match and Revan latched on to a Warburton cross only to shoot wide, while Gaughran just failed to connect with a Michael Clunan freekick.

Mark Burke made a string of substitutions with an eye on Monday’s fixture against Dorchester. Liam Brooks brought a regulation save out of Street after being set up by Spence, while Brett Donnelly had a half chance but was crowded out by the defence before he could shoot.

The Canaries continued to push forward and Smith delivered another dangerous cross to Brett Donnelly but the striker’s first touch saw the ball slip away. At the other end, Zielonka got a header on another Clunan freekick but Johnson was equal to the effort.

Spence had one final half chance as he accepted a pass from Brooks but, as the final whistle blew, Hitchin had already emphasised their promotion credentials. They now face their fourth game in ten days as Dorchester visit Top Field on Monday.

Full time - Hitchin Town 5 Kings Lynn Town 0

Hitchin Town - Johnson, Smith, Bickerstaff, Rolfe, Webb, Wright, Spence, Callum Donnelly, Kirkpatrick, Burns, Lench; subs - Brett Donnelly (for Callum Donnelly), Bennett, Brooks (for Burns), Walster (for Rolfe), Barnes
Kings Lynn Town - Street, Zielonka, Yong, Gaughran, Ward, Smith, Clunan, McWilliams, Hilliard, Revan, Warburton; subs - Fryatt (for Edge), Setchell, McQuaid, Edge (for McWilliams), Congreave

Hitchin Town - Callum Donnelly (2), Burns (14, 47), Lench (24), Kirkpatrick (43)

Hitchin Town MOTM - Lucas Kirkpatrick

Attendance - 517

Colin, photo by Peter Else