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St Albans City 0 Hitchin Town 1

Tuesday, February 14 2017

The Canaries ensured lightning did strike twice at Clarence Park, winning a place in a second county cup final this season. They defeated their National League South opponents for the second time this season - this time in the Herts Charity Cup and this time getting the result without the need for a penalty shootout.

Neither club was treating the Charity Cup as an irrelevance with both fielding strong sides. While Callum and Brett Donnelly and Robbie Burns were on the bench and Matt Lench not playing, the starting line-up saw the inclusion of Jonny McNamara, Ben Walster, Mason Spence and Liam Brooks. St Albansí team was very different to the one that drew with Chelmsford on Saturday but did feature Jamie Cureton and Sam Merson in attack, with Louie Theophanous in reserve.

Hitchin were first to test the opposing keeper with an effort from Lucas Kirkpatrick which was easily saved by Russell before Will Wright flicked over from a Hitchin short corner.

However St Albans had chances with Michael Johnson saving from Cureton before they came closest to breaking the deadlock when a freekick from Lucien hit the Hitchin woodwork. A glanced header by Bender from a corner then flew just wide of the goal.

However, Hitchin looked the more fluent side and Spence had an effort saved before the Canaries had their best chance of the first period when McNamara failed to convert when well placed in front of goal.

HALF TIME - St Albans City 0 Hitchin Town 0

Hitchin continued to take the game to St Albans after the break, while their higher league opponents adopted a direct approach including regular long throws, one of which Gardiner headed just wide.

Brooks fired over after good work on the left flank by Spence and Kirkpatrick. However Hitchin were not to be denied and scored with a well worked goal. Brooks - who worked tirelessly up front - played in McNamara who picked his spot to fire past Russell on 65 minutes.

Hitchin continued to press for a second as Spence tested the keeper before McNamara went close again. The winger got on the end of another through ball, ran wide and drew the keeper. However his shot from a tight angle was cleared off the line by a defender.

Spence then came close to turning in a low Kane Smith cross and Brett Donnelly, who replaced Brooks, was close to getting on the end of a ball to the back post from McNamara.

Inevitably, Hitchin had to withstand some late pressure from the hosts but the defence was resilient and Michael Johnson pulled off a splendid stop to keep out Merson. When the final whistle blew, Hitchin had completed a ten match winning streak and advanced into a second cup final which will see them renew rivalries with Cheshunt.†

FINAL SCORE - St Albans 0 Hitchin 1

St Albans City - Russell, Casey, Chappell, Thomas, Gardiner, Bender, Lucien, Montgomery, Cureton, Merson, Corcoran; subs - Noble, Theophanous, Iwediuno, Walker, Allinson†
Hitchin Town - Johnson, Smith, Walster, Rolfe, Webb, Wright, McNamara, Spence, Brooks, Bickerstaff, Kirkpatrick; Subs - C Donnelly (for Walster), Bennett, B Donnelly (for Brooks), Burns (for Bickerstaff), Reilly

Hitchin Town - McNamara (65)




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