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St Neots Town 1 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, January 28 2017

Hitchin Town snatched a late win at St Neots but only after a last minute penalty save by Michael Johnson.

After suffering three successive postponements, the Canaries lined up with only one change from the starting eleven against St Albans. Josh Bickerstaff taking the place of Ben Walster in the back four. The bench featured the returning Jonny McNamara, as well as Martyn Bennett as substitute goalkeeper.

Despite their enforced absence, Hitchin started positively although failing to test goalkeeper Alex Archer. As the half reached the midpoint, the hosts started to get into the game with Johnson saving from Butler. However the keeper had no chance on 26 minutes when, as last season, St Neots opened the scoring. Devani Brown found space on the edge of the box and slammed his shot home.†

The goal seemed to kickstart the Canaries and it only took five minutes for them to level the score. Callum Donnelly turned in the area and chipped a pass to Robbie Burns. His shot was not powerful but trickled between Archerís legs and into the net. Bickerstaff and Lucas Kirkpatrick both shot over while Archer had to stop efforts from Matt Lench and Lewis Rolfe. The keeper also had to come out of his area to cut out a through ball before Donnelly could get onto it.

Half Time - St Neots Town 1 Hitchin Town 1

After the break, Hitchin continued to probe while St Neots looked like they would be happy to take the draw. Kane Smith picked out Callum Donnelly at the far post but he couldnít send the ball goalwards. Donnelly was also at the end of a good ball from Lench but was flagged offside.†

However Hitchin became bogged down and Mark Burke rang the changes by bringing on Brett Donnelly, McNamara and Liam Brooks. Burns continued to test the St Neotsí defence but fired off target.

The drama unfolded in the last five minutes. Michael Hyem found space on the right of the Hitchin area but pulled his shot wide. A minute later, St Neots were made to pay for that as the ball fell to Brett Donnelly in the box. The striker turned and fired past Archer to give Hitchin the lead. †That appeared to be that until St Neots won a late throw in. The long throw landed in the Hitchin area and the referee spotted a foul on Taylor Parr. Brown stepped up to take the spotkick to Michael Johnsonís left but the keeper got his hand on the ball to turn it wide. The ensuing corner was cleared and Hitchin had claimed a win that was not pretty but three points that were vital.

Full Time - St Neots Town 1 Hitchin Town 2

Teams
St Neots Town - Archer, Day, Herd, Butler, Wood, Parr, Brown, Hyem, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Peter Clark, Rogers; subs - Partridge (for Butler 54 mins), LíGhoul (for Rogers 56 mins), Lee Clarke (for Hyem 88 mins), Norman
Hitchin Town - Johnson, Smith, Bickerstaff, Rolfe, Webb, Wright, Spence, Callum Donnelly, Kirkpatrick, Burns, Lench; subs: Brett Donnelly (for Spence), McNamara (for Lench), Brooks (for Callum Donnelly), Ann, Bennett

Goals
St Neots Town - Brown (26)
Hitchin Town - Burns (31), Brett Donnelly (85)

Yellow Cards

St Neots Town - Brown

Attendance - 347

Colin, photo by Peter Else




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