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Hitchin Town 0 Kings Lynn Town 4

Saturday, January 27 2018

The Linnets kept pace with Kettering Town at the top of the table with a comfortable win against  the Canaries. In a convincing all-round team effort for the visitors, Cameron King - a former Canary (of the Norwich type) - shone with two goals on his full debut.

Mark Burke handed a league debut to Jack James at right back with Toby Syme on the bench. Connor Vincent led the line with Jonny McNamara and Trey Charles out wide and Josh Bickerstaff sitting in front of the back four.

The first quarter hour saw the Canaries match their high-flying opposition with a good early chance coming after Lucas Kirkpatrick had been fouled in the middle of the pitch. Lewis Rolfe’s free kick was nodded down by Dan Webb to Charles. The winger got over his shot but the effort was straight at Alex Street.

Minutes later, Kings Lynn opened the score as Michael Gash picked up a throw in and ran into the box from the left to fire home a cross-shot. The shot was well taken but he was under very little pressure.

A minute later Ryan Hawkins nearly doubled the lead but Michael Johnson saved bravely at his feet. Hawkins then fired wide after being set up by King, while Hitchin were lucky that no-one connected with a Michael Clunan free kick as Kings Lynn started to take control of the game.

Hitchin struggled to make an impression although Charlie Smith fired wide after being found by Charles. A good turn by McNamara saw him put Vincent through but the offside flag was raised and then the wideman tried his own luck after cutting in from the left only to shoot off target.

Kings Lynn still carried more threat and Hawkins should have extended the lead on 40 minutes as they broke and Johnson came out of his goal, but the forward managed to hit the post with the goal wide open. 

Any hopes of keeping the match tight disappeared on 45 minutes when Kings Lynn finally doubled the lead. Norman pounced as Ben Walster missed an interception on the right and the ball was played across the area and back by Lappin to find King on the edge of the box. He slotted home to open his Linnets’ account.

Half time - Hitchin Town 0 Kings Lynn Town 2

Mark Burke refrained from making changes at the break and the Canaries tried to get into the game. Street made two routine saves from Smith and then McNamara. At the other end, Kings Lynn tested the Hitchin defence but Webb did well to put King off a shot and James intercepted to cut off a run by Gash.

However the match was put beyond doubt with two goals in the space of three minutes. King scored his second from close range on 57 minutes after good work by Gash as the Linnets overran the Canaries’ defence. Three minutes later Hawkins finally got his goal as he evaded Dan Webb and saw Johnson fumble his low shot into the net under his body.

There was no way back for the Canaries although substitute Brett Donnelly’s snap shot at least forced Street to make a hurried save as the game entered the last quarter hour. That did not stop Kings Lynn trying to take revenge for the five goal defeat last season and Johnson did well to keep out an effort from substitute Craig Parker.

Robbie Burns came closest to a late consolation but was denied by a desperate double save from Street as he first stopped the substitute’s header and then clawed the ball off the goal line. The Linnets nearly had the last laugh but Johnson kept out their final effort with his leg.

The combination of a well-drilled, fluent opposition and a Hitchin performance that, while not as bad as Biggleswade, was still under par was reflected in the scoreline. The Canaries remain in 11th place in the table despite this defeat but any ideas about a play-off place look increasingly fanciful. They now need to pick themselves up quickly for Monday’s Herts Senior Cup clash against National League Boreham Wood.

Full time - Hitchin Town 0 Kings Lynn Town 4

Teams
Hitchin Town - Johnson, James, Walster, Rolfe, Webb, Bickerstaff, Kirkpatrick, Smith, Vincent, McNamara. Charles; subs - Donnelly (for McNamara), Burns (for Kirkpatrick), Syme, Byrne
Kings Lynn Town - Street, Norman, Blake-Tracy, Frary, Fryatt, Jarvis, Clunan, King, Gash, Hawkins, Lappin; subs - Parker (for King), Hilliard (for Hawkins), Siddons (for Gash)

Yellow card
Hitchin Town - Lewis Rolfe

Goals
Kings Lynn Town - Gash (17), King (45, 57), Hawkins (60)

Attendance - 500

Sponsors MOTM - Jonny McNamara

Colin