It is back! After a week off, Brett Donnelly returns to blog duties and gives his take on the wins at Dunstable and Stratford. He also explains how life for non league footballers has its difficulties. He also makes mention of his 50th goal for Hitchin and, on behalf of all supporters, well done Brett! Can you make it to 100?


This weeks instalment

Saturday saw us back in action after a couple of weeks off. It was a month since I last played, as in our only game against Chesham I didn’t get on. The weather has been a killer and it now means a backlog of fixtures, made all the more frustrating in that we don’t really have anything to play for league wise. Thankfully the boys are an honest bunch and even though it may not look like it sometimes, we do not down tools and have pride in our performances and try to give our best in all games.

So to Saturday and we visited second bottom Dunstable. They are in a dog fight with Gosport to avoid relegation. From what I saw on Saturday from the Dunstable side there wasn’t much fight in that dog! I can understand that they are not getting paid and attracting players to this level is nigh on impossible but I can’t have players not trying or not working their nuts off. The management seemed to have more fight in them than those on the pitch. We were rightly 4-0 up at half time. Macca (Jonny McNamara) managed to get himself 2 goals – make of that what you want! He told me he was back as he walked off at half time – and continued to do so after the game.

The second half was a non-event. Sadly Larry (Elliot Bailey) picked up a recurrence of a knee injury which could see his season over. He has scored 14 goals and he’s only played about 83 minutes – well done Larry.

Tuesday saw us travel to Stratford which is always a hard game. Harder still when we have some key players missing. We had a 17 year old goalkeeper, who looks like a baby Tyson Fury. Fortunately we had Macca telling us he was back all the way there so we arrived in confident mood knowing we had a match winner with us. There was a little jig of personnel from Burkey but we started ok. Macca was put clean through after 2 minutes, and as he had told us he was back he was obviously going to score. Oh dear…. he was wrong! He managed to chip it over the keeper, the bar, the netting behind the goal, the allotments behind the netting behind the goal. Macca was definitely back!!

Lucky for him I was able to bail him out as I tapped in after a goalkeeper blunder. (Told you they were all useless). That was my 50th goal for the club. Not bad for a striker after 748 games. In fairness half were as sub. I think 2 of those goals were decent as well. Sadly I was so busy reminiscing about the goals I had scored I forgot to pick up my man from the next corner and he scored!! DOH!! It was fine though as the man in sticks for Stratford decided we deserved another goal and he duly dropped one on Hugo’s toe to make it 2-1.

Second half we saw out the storm and defended brilliantly as a team. A much deserved 3 points for me. Special mention to Paddy (Patrick Tshikala) as he came on as sub and ran more in those 15 minutes then he had done in the previous 18 years of his life!

We had a few missing Tuesday which brings up the old argument as to why we players are missing games in the season. Sadly it’s the norm now. However at Hitchin we are not on bundles of money and if you have to work then that’s the way it is. The lads would much prefer to be playing but your career away from football is more important. It pays your rent. Fans hate to see it, I understand that. Same as when players miss games due to holiday. I try to arrange mine around the football season but it’s hard. My wife is quite forgiving even though she hates football but we do miss out on weekends away or organising nights out due to the fact I could be in Wales that weekend. I’m a huge football fan and my year is from August to May. However I hear that normal (weird) people do stuff that has nothing to do with football. Some of the lads in our changing room do as their missus tells them. If that means holidaying in March/April then so be it! Happy wife, happy life and all that! We give up a lot that is unseen. Training twice a week, friendlies which you don’t get paid for, long journeys all over the country, trying to eat right, not drinking too much (cough cough) just to get that little 5-9% more out yourself. I wouldn’t change it though. It’s what I know… here’s to 4 more years.