Hitchin Town vs Farnborough

Saturday 10th February 2018 | 3:00 pm
Top Field


Farnborough won at Top Field after taking advantage of a poor first half hour performance as Hitchin’s defence were consistently exposed by Boro’s speedy front men.

Mark Burke made one change from the side that defeated Kempston in midweek as Michael Johnson was replaced in goal by former Boreham Wood and St Albans keeper James Russell.

Both sides had early chances as Brett Donnelly fired over before Farnborough debutant Michael Fernandes nearly caught out Russell and the keeper redeemed himself with a save from Jayden Antwi.

However just as Hitchin put together some patient approach play, Perry Coles gave Farnborough the lead on 15 minutes with a direct goal, pouncing on a mis-kicked clearance from Lewis Rolfe as both teams chased after a long ball.

Jack James placed an angled effort wide but then Hitchin were caught on the break again. Fernandes doubled the lead on 24 minutes when he ran from the halfway line, leaving the Hitchin defence in his wake before slotting home.

Craig Bradshaw turned a Charlie Smith shot away from a corner and Robbie Burns’ shot from the set piece hit the side netting. However, with Hitchin two goals down and Donnelly isolated up front, Mark Burke made two early substitutions and changed the system to a back four with Connor Vincent offering attacking support.

While Hitchin had possession, Farnborough continued to threaten. Stand-in keeper Russell turned away a Jayden Antwi shot after the striker had outpaced Dan Webb before loanee Andrew Sealey-Harris blazed over after being set up by Coles.

Half time – Hitchin Town 0 Farnborough 2

If Hitchin hoped that their luck would change after the break, it only changed for the worse. On 47 minutes, Antwi slipped Fernandes through and he doubled his tally with a skied shot which sailed over the stranded Russell and off the far post into the net.

There was no lack of endeavour from the Canaries as they tried to get back into the game and Bradshaw dived low to turn away a shot from Josh Bickerstaff, while McNamara fired wide.

Brett Donnelly clawed a goal back on 63 minutes as he scrambled home a low cross. Trey Charles came on for Burns and nearly set up McNamara only for Jones to intervene with a well-timed challenge. Then Jones and skipper CJ Fearn both denied McNamara with goal line clearances after the winger’s low shot had beaten Bradshaw.

McNamara and Donnelly had further efforts off target as Hitchin tried to apply more pressure on Farnborough while Bradshaw also kept out a late Charlie Smith shot. Calcutt fired a Farnborough free kick into the Hitchin wall with Russell saving Fernandes’ follow-up, while Coles also had an effort blocked for the visitors but the damage to Hitchin had already been done.

Full time – Hitchin Town 1 Farnborough 3

Hitchin Town – Russell, James, Syme, Rolfe, Webb, Byrne, Kirkpatrick, Smith, Donnelly, Burns, Bickerstaff; subs – Vincent (for Kirkpatrick), Johnson, McNamara (for Byrne), Charles (for Burns), Walster
Farnborough – Bradshaw, King, Jones, Fearn, Bailey, Everitt, Sealey-Harris, Oseni, Coles, Antwi, Fernandes; subs – Calcutt (for Everitt), Campbell, Brace (for Sealey-Harris), Williams (for Fernandes), Omrore

Hitchin Town – Donnelly (63)
Farnborough – Coles (15), Fernandes (24, 47)

Yellow cards
Hitchin Town – Syme,
Farnborough – Everitt, King, Antwi

Sponsor’s MOTM – Vincent

Attendance 280