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Hitchin Town 4 Redditch United 2

Monday, December 12 2016

Town bounced back from Saturday’s FA Trophy defeat at Chelmsford City with a 4-2 win at home to Redditch United.

Dan Webb, Matt Lench, Ben Walster and Lewis Rolfe all got on the scoresheet, but Brett Donnelly was sent off in the first half for two bookable offences.

Mark Burke made one change to the side that lost 1-0 at Chelmsford, Brett Donnelly returned from suspension and replaced Michael King.

The Canaries took the lead after just four minutes. Mason Spence had a volley from the edge of the area clawed away by Bradley Catlow, but Dan Webb, who was still up from an earlier corner, was on hand to slot the rebound home.

Liam Brooks was the next to threaten for the hosts, scuffing his shot wide from 20 yards out.

They did not have to wait long to double their lead, however, Matt Lench slid in at the back post to convert from a Kane Smith cross to make it 2-0 with just ten minutes gone.

Rolfe was then booked for taking down a Redditch striker after giving the ball away.

Josh Bickerstaff was the next player to test Catlow, but the Redditch stopper was equal to his volley from inside the box, his save just evaded Lench who was following up.

Rolfe then latched onto a Brett Donnelly flick on as the visitors’ defence tried to hand Hitchin an early Christmas gift at every opportunity, but his strike was arrowed past Catlow’s post.

But with Redditch’s first meaningful attack, they pulled a goal back. Jhai Dillon received the ball on the left and his cross-cum-shot drifted over Johnson and into the top corner.

There was a flashpoint two minutes later. Jordan Brown climbed above Brett Donnelly to win a header and then threw striker to the ground, both players were booked for their actions.

Johnson had been a spectator for much of the first half, but was off his line quickly to deny his namesake Danico, after a neat through ball from Max Loveridge.

Redditch began to find their feet and Simeon Cobourne should have done better from a tight angle, but toe-poked an effort wide of the near post.

And with just two minutes of the first half remaining, for the second time in nine days, Brett Donnelly was shown his second booking for leading with the arm in an aerial challenge. A harsh decision, especially considering the first booking was effectively for being thrown to the floor.

Callum Donnelly was also booked before the break for saying something to the referee.
Lucas Kirkpatrick was sent on for Matt Lench at half-time.

Half Time - Hitchin Town 2 Redditch United 1

Callum Donnelly fired over early on in the second half, and Hitchin were annoyed awarded a penalty after 55 minutes.

Webb was fouled in the box by Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, and Ben Walster stepped up to dispatch the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

After a bright end to the first half, Redditch struggled to create anything until Dior Angus drove through the middle and shot straight at Johnson.

They narrowed the deficit in freak fashion on the 65th minute. Mason Spence’s clearance was blocked by Dhillon and the ball looped over the stranded Johnson and into the net.

Not to be deterred, the ten men of Hitchin hit straight back. Neat football saw Liam Brooks play in Rolfe who finished smartly past Catlow to restore the Canaries two-goal lead.

The sixth goal took the wind out of the visitors, and neither side looked like threatening the opposition keeper in the final twenty minutes. 

A member of Redditch’s backroom staff was sent to the stands after saying something to the referee with five minutes remaining as Hitchin saw out the game comfortably, and climbed to third in the table.


Hitchin Town: Michael Johnson, Kane Smith, Ben Walster, Josh Bickerstaff, Dan Webb (C), Lewis Rolfe, Mason Spence (Robbie Burns 68), Callum Donnelly, Brett Donnelly, Liam Brooks (Will Wright 86), Matt Lench (Lucas Kirkpatrick 45)
Unused Subs: Michael King, Conor Clarke

Redditch United: Bradley Catlow, Jordan Jones, Jhai Dhillon, Max Loveridge, Jordan Brown, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd (C), Danico Johnson, Reece Hales (Ahmed Ali 74), Luke Keen, Dior Angus, Simeon Cobourne (Nathaniel Kelly 80).
Unused Subs: Darren Byfield

Hitchin Town goals: Dan Webb (4) Matt Lench (10) Ben Walster (55) Lewis Rolfe (67)
Bookings: Lewis Rolfe (16) Brett Donnelly (29) Callum Donnelly (45)
Sent off: Brett Donnelly (43)

Redditch United goals: Jhai Dillon (26 & 68)
Booking: Jordan Brown (29) Jhai Dillon (36) Reece Hales (66)

Hitchin Town MOTM: Dan Webb

Attendance: 233

Matt Storey (Hertfordshire Mercury), photo by Peter Else

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