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Weymouth 0 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, February 11 2017

Manager Mark Burke was forced to miss this game through illness but Hitchin’s win provided him with the perfect tonic. It was a ninth consecutive win,  seven of which have come in the league and Hitchin have now won fourteen of their last sixteen games.

However they remain third in the table as the top two Chippenham and Merthyr have each won seven of their last eight games. But there is now a gap of ten points over the teams outside the play off positions with fourteen games left to play.

This was a trademark Hitchin performance as, without ever hitting the heights they are capable of, they engineered a further three points and produced match winning moments after a slow start. It was in the end a comfortable victory against a Weymouth side that looked very capable but had no answer once Hitchin went ahead.

Adam Parker was in charge and did not feel the first half performance was up to the high standards that have been set this season. But despite that it was still Hitchin who looked the more likely to score on a very good playing surface. Brett Donnelly and Robbie Burns started up front while Matt Lench replaced Jonny McNamara in midfield as the quality of the squad was again underlined with a strong bench.

Callum Donnelly shot tamely early on before Burns came close after being set up by Brett Donnelly. Brett then had a chance himself but his header was too straight and Tom McHale made a relatively easy save. Mark Molesley then produced Weymouth’s best effort of the game so far but Michael Johnson produced a good save. Hitchin continued to create chances and a good move saw Burns shoot wide before half time. But the half time whistle came with the game still awaiting the first goal.

The game was settled in the early stages of the second half which saw Hitchin come out in determined fashion. Burns had another shot go wide before he delivered an excellent cross that Brett Donnelly skilfully headed in to the corner of the net laving McHale helpless. That came after 58 minutes and just two minutes later the roles were reversed as a cross cum shot from Brett was turned in at the far post in emphatic fashion by Burns who continued his excellent scoring run in recent games.

The two goal burst seemed to demoralise Weymouth and in the remainder of the game they failed to trouble Johnson. As ever the whole Hitchin team worked really hard and the defence was solid and were rewarded with another clean sheet. Callum Donnelly limped off to be replaced by Mason Spence while Liam Brooks replaced Brett Donnelly and McNamara replaced Lench but Hitchin remained in control to the final whistle.

This was another excellent win and after the January postponements the three subsequent league games have seen Hitchin grind out nine points without ever being at their best which is a great tribute to the battling qualities of the team. Confidence is high but no one is getting carried away and the management will ensure there will be no let up in the high intensity work rate which underpins the way Hitchin play.

WEYMOUTH - McHale, Wells, Wannell, Zubar, Down, Lowes, Copp, Davis, Fleetwood, Molesley, Rodriguez Subs Allen for Down 83, Matthews, Cooper for Davis 83, Thompson for Molesley 65, Panasar-Dower
HITCHIN TOWN - Johnson, Smith, Bickerstaff, Rolfe, Webb, Wright, Lench, C Donnelly, B Donnelly, Burns, Kirkpatrick Subs McNamara for Lench 80, Bennett, Brooks for B Donnelly 74, Spence for C Donnelly 65, King

HITCHIN TOWN - B Donnelly 58, Burns 60

WEYMOUTH - Copp, Fleetwood and Molesley
HITCHIN TOWN - Brooks, C Donnelly, Rolfe and Smith


Roy Izzard, photos Peter Else

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