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St Ives Town 0 Hitchin Town 3

Tuesday, March 21 2017

Hitchin secured a second consecutive away victory to move in to third place in the league table and open up an eight point gap over Merthyr and Banbury. It was a very professional and accomplished performance from Hitchin and the game was effectively over by half time with a 3-0 lead secured.

"We came to do a job knowing the pitch would be difficult and it was a case of mission accomplished. We scored our goals at good times in the game and were then able to see the game out in the second half with good game management. We also came through without picking up any more injuries." - this was manager Mark Burke’s reaction to the performance.

Burke had chosen the same starting eleven as Saturday with Callum Donnelly and Josh Bickerstaff still not fit to return, while Lewis Rolfe and Matt Spring were part of a strong group of substitutes.

The St Ives pitch has a notorious reputation and it is very much to Hitchin’s credit that they made light of the conditions and produced some good football.  They made the perfect start going 2-0 up in just 11 minutes. The first goal was unfortunately headed in to his own net by Liam McDevitt when under pressure from Brett Donnelly before Matt Lench showed his class when taking full advantage of a stray back pass to leave goalkeeper Tim Trebes with no chance.

Hitchin were very purposeful and although St Ives were lively they were allowed precious few chances and a third goal was no surprise. It came in first half injury time and followed an excellent cross from Ben Walster. Jonny McNamara converted at the far post and admitted afterwards the goal came off his buttock!

Spring replaced Lench early in the second half and with Jay Dowie again having an impressive game Hitchin were able to remain comfortably in control with very few alarms. Dowie came close to scoring on the hour forcing Trebes to a good save. Liam Brooks replaced Donnelly and St Ives had used all their substitutes but the pattern of the game did not change.

Spring shot over the bar while Robbie Burns saw an excellent free kick saved by Trebes but Hitchin were content to hold their three goal lead. Mason Spence replace Lucas Kirkpatrick and it was a foul on Spence that earned the only booking of a game that was well handled by referee James Turner.

This result really sets up Saturday’s crunch encounter with second placed Leamington and confidence has been restored after the slight downturn in form. Burke has selection dilemmas of the right kind as the squad is looking very strong with competition for places very high.

It was good to see a very large away following at St Ives and surely a big crowd will come to Top Field on Saturday as Hitchin begin their final run in with just six league games to be played.

Teams
St Ives Town - Trebes, Bradshaw, Jarrold, Chaffey, McDevitt, McGowan, Seymour-Shove, Clark, Kelly, Dawkin, Day; Subs - De’ath for Bradshaw 65, Libertucci for McGowan 73, Wright,  Ogbonna for Seymour-Shove HT, Smith
Hitchin Town - Johnson, Smith, Walster, Dowie, Webb, Wright, McNamara, Kirkpatrick, B Donnelly, Burns, Lench; Subs - Brooks for B Donnelly 71, Spence for Kirkpatrick 85, Clarke, Spring for Lench 52, Rolfe

Scorers
Hitchin - McDevitt own goal 7, Lench 11,  McNamara 45+1

Bookings
St Ives - Ogbonna
Hitchin - none

Attendance 274

Roy Izzard, photo by Peter Else




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