Hitchin Town 1 Hednesford Town 2


Southern League 2021-22

Top Field68 Fishponds Rd, Hitchin SG5 1NU, UK

Hitchin Town
Hednesford Town
1 - 2
Final Score


An apt quotation comes to mind concerning this thrilling game where the disappointment of defeat for Hitchin cannot be overestimated.

‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.’

Of all the defeats Hitchin have had to endure this one seems the harshest to bear since overall, the team played magnificently, and in front of the best home attendance of the season.

To concede not one, but two goals against the run of play in little more than a minute was nothing short of harrowing, particularly as man of the match Charlie Horlock had saved a penalty just before half-time. Credit must be given for Hednesford who caught us bathing and ran off with our clothes and denied us the points that would have done so much for our league placing.

Once again we listened with a mixture of gratitude and irony to the views of visiting officials and supporters that Hitchin do not deserve to be in the relegation zone. It is nice to hear but the facts are unaltered. As for a spectacle, well, this game had it all, near misses, a saved penalty, and appeals for the same dismissed; the bar and post clattered, a lame assistant referee who was replaced with our equivalent of ‘is there a doctor in the house?’ among the 637 was a qualified chap and he donned the black for an eventful final quarter of an hour. Well done that man.

We seemed to be in a state of suspended preparation before the game, wondering if the team could replicate the form that destroyed St Ives, but in any case improving on the forgettable lack of form at Needham Market. The noted loyalty of home supporters were denied a handsome win, but many left wondering how the team did not go into the interval with a three goal advantage rather than just the one, that came from an overdue goal for Stephen Cawley.

From the kick-off there was a pleasing urgency about Hitchin who launched an immediate attack and minutes later an error by visiting keeper Joe O’Shaughnessy almost led to a surprise opening goal. Then there was a free kick from Alex Brown that was strong enough to be counted as a shot on target but the keeper was alert to this.

The Pitmen had not yet begun their shift in earnest. The best they could offer in the early stages was a poor shot from Andre Landell, following good workfrom Kyle Bennett. Then there was a looping pass that enabled Jacob Hutchinson a free shot on goal that he put disappointingly wide. Soon after this came a superb shot from Cawley that we felt certain was in but the ball struck the underside of the bar, and we were still talking about it when we had a penalty appeal dismissed, and quite rightly so; this resulted in Hutchinson being booked for simulation.

Kyle Bennett got one on target for the Pitmen that went wide and following a threaded pass from Coldicott-Stevens, Moloney I think it was, saw his effort strike the foot of the post. It seemed the Pitmen bore a charmed life. They applied themselves more earnestly however and following a super strike from Landell we saw Horlock make what in the parlance was a ‘worldy’ of a save , conceding a corner. Then,from this the Pitmen saw what it was like to hit the underside of the cross bar. It was all enthralling stuff.

Hitchin won a corner and in the absence of Gleeson, who began a two match suspension, we saw at last, the ploy of the short diagonal pass which fell into the path of Cawley who lifted the ball well and it dropped into the net, almost in slow motion. The goal was deserved on the balance of play, and had the Canaries been 3-0 up at this stage it would not be flattering.

The goal came on the half hour mark and it was imperative that the hosts did not concede, and that they kept focused – even so , Bennett had a chance which he shot wildly wide. Stead found himself through on goal but before he could pull the trigger the referee announced that it would have been a blank as he espied a foul. We were moments away from the interval when the unthinkable happened. Landell was tripped in the penalty area and consternation turned to joy when Horlock saved the spot kick from Bennett. Well done that man.

Hednesford officials were a little glum since they were aware that so far their team had been outplayed and Hitchin had displayed a secure initiative. A week may be a long time in politics but a second half can seem an eternity in football if you are defending a slight lead. Even so, it still took the visitors some time to make meaningful assaults on goal. An in-swinging corner from JCS was plucked out of the air by O’Shaugnessy who ignored appeals from those behind the goals to commit an error.

Then, oh Lordy, Hitchin were denied yet again. Stead’s persistence in possession had been remarkable and he fashioned a shot from nothing and this too struck the underside of the bar with the crowd behind the goal taking a sharp intake of breath as if to suck the ball over the line. Some claimed it had crossed the line, but they had their fingers crossed.

Then the unthinkable happened. Following this creditable effort, the Pitmen broke away and caught the defence unawares. Landell had a blocked cross but they still retained possession and Reece Flanagan slipped in the equaliser. The Pitmen then added insult to injury by catching the defence napping just a minute later and Wes Atkinson rewrote the script and put his team ahead to some acclaim from his team mates. It may not have been wholly deserved but they will care not a jot.

We had played not much more than an hour, so there was still time. The problem was that this double strike had put a spring in the visitors’ step and they played some sensible possession football to deny and frustrate the hosts.

Equally frustrating, ( but with no blame attached), was when one of the assistant referees pulled up lame and there was an almost embarrassing appeal from the announcer asking if there was a qualified person in the crowd. There was a delay of almost a quarter of an hour and both teams went through some training routines and the gents behind the stand did a roaring trade, so to speak, with a queue worthy of a fuel shortage.

The referee told me afterwards that had we not unearthed a qualified chappie he would have had no option but to ‘suspend the game, and report to the league.’ Had that occurred it is almost certain that because the game had reached such an advanced stage, the result would have stood and, this we can accept without umbrage, dudgeon or pique. So if you feel angry at that, imagine if had we been in that situation. The assistant referee recovered and we wish him well.

That is not the issue here; what is the real issue is just how we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It was all down to an inch. An inch lower and two goals would have been scored – and had the same occurred for Hednesford they would have bagged one as well.

After the replacement of the official there were opportunities, the best falling to Stan Georgiou whose header was only just wide and had he scored, that goal would have kept him going and he would have related the moment to his dad for the rest of the evening and who could blame him? For the meantime he must wait for heroic status. It was a shame, since I was thrilled with the way that Hitchin had played, but in the end we were not flying but falling in style. Look at my eye twitchin’.

A noble defeat may earn a chorus from the ‘choir invisibule’ and my tongue in cheek question to the referee was ‘how do you feel about not awarding the two penalties we should have had?’ I was only joking but some home supporters were still fulminating as they left the ground, and I can understand their frustration.

May I say this – that if we play like this in future games I feel we may well survive. Some team soon is going to get it from us and with both barrels and the sooner the better. Looking at the fixture list I see we have two away games against high fliers Coalville Town and then Stratford Town, which is not the easiest route to recovery. Before then there is the friendly/training game at Wodson Park on Tuesday against Ware.

Charlie Horlock, man of the match, Jack Green, Alex Brown, Josh Coldicott-Stevens, Matthew Moloney, Ciaren Jones, Callum Stead, Stanley Georgiou, Jacob Hutchinson, cautioned, Stephen Cawley, GOAL, 30 MINUTES, Malaki Black.

Substitutes – all unused- Rio Dasilva, Delsin Ackom, Jordan Kinoshi, Kye Tearle and Johnny Allotey.

Joe O’Shaughnessy, cautioned, Wesley Atkinson, GOAL, 62 MINUTES,Carter Lynette, (Thomas Armitage), Martin Riley, Lewis Ledford-Ison, Reece Flanagan, GOAL, 61 MINUTES, Andre Landell, (Jed Davies), Todd Parker, Riley O’Sullivan, Kyle Bennett, (Joshua Webb), George Cater.

Unused substitutes- Courtney Richards and Rhys Williams.

Referee- Mr M Norton assisted by Mr J Keane and Mr R Woodford and to the splendid volunteer who rose to the cause to officiate for the last quarter of an hour.




Competition Season
Southern League 2021-22