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Hitchin Town 3 Potters Bar Town 0

Monday, September 5 2016

The Canaries notched up a straightforward win against a weakened Potters Bar Town to progress to a Hertfordshire Charity Cup semi-final against St Albans City.†

Mark Burke made changes from Saturdayís FA Cup tie with Ben Walster returning to the side, Lewis Rolfe partnering Dan Webb in central defence and Josh Bickerstaff filling the defensive midfield role. There were starts for Kieran Barnes, Josh Coley, Lewis McBride and Charlie Payne.†

The Scholars came into the match on the back of a good 3-0 Cup win at Chalfont St Peter, but fielded an almost completely changed side.†

The first ten minutes of the match were almost a mirror of those against Biggleswade United as the Canaries took an early two goal lead. On 3 minutes, Dan Webb had an easy tap-in at the back post following a corner. Webb went close again with an effort that grazed the post before Kieran Barnes doubled the score on 9 minutes. Lewis McBride sent in a teasing low cross which was bundled in at the far post by Kieran Barnes.

The remainder of the first period saw Hitchin on the attack for much of the time. They also chased and harried to prevent Potters Bar getting any foothold in the game. McBride and Payne were off target with efforts while Pascal Xanthos was forced into saves from Kane Smith and Bickerstaff.

Miguel Dos Santos ended up in the book as he halted a surging run by Smith. From the free kick, Xanthos again saved from Webb.

HALF TIME Hitchin Town 2 Potters Bar Town 0

After the break, Hitchin continued to have the lionís share of possession.†Payne and Coley fired wide while Xanthos unconvincingly parried the ball from Kirkpatrick.†

At the other end, Michael Johnson had a very quiet night. However he was alert to the rare moments of danger, and wisely elected to come out and punch clear a Murray freekick when under pressure.

Bickerstaff hooked a shot wide and McBride headed over as the small crowd awaited further goals. Xanthos also twice denied Ben Walster - first doing well to keep out a fierce freekick, and then saving from an angled drive.

Hitchin should have undoubtedly have scored more but the quality of crosses was variable and the Canaries - and particularly Coley - strayed offside on a number of occasions. However the number 9 had the last laugh during stoppage time. He judged his run to stay onside and beat the defender before his angled shot ran across the goal to the far post. However Matt Lench, who had come on for Kirkpatrick, was on hand to convert the opportunity before the final whistle blew.

Hitchin could only beat what the team that was put before them but the match did provide valuable experience for a number of the Canaries squad members. The line-up will undoubtedly be different for the fourth home fixture in five games against Basingstoke Town on Saturday.

FINAL SCORE Hitchin Town 3 Potters Bar Town 0

Teams

Hitchin Town - Johnson, Smith, Walster, Bickerstaff, Webb, Rolfe, McBride, Kirkpatrick, Coley, Payne, Barnes; subs - Wright (for Webb), S Barker (for Payne), C Donnelly, Lench (for Kirkpatrick)
Potters Bar Town - Xanthos, Baird, Dos Santos, Jones, Thomas, Nestor, Pett, Lawrence, Murray, SImpson, Warner-Eley; subs - Robinson (for Pett), Janovic (for Nestor), Gibbs (for Simpson), Holland

Goals
Hitchin Town - Webb (3), Barnes (9), Lench (90)

Yellow cards
Potters Bar Town - Dos Santos

Attendance - 130

Colin, photo by Peter Else



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