Stourbridge 3 Hitchin Town 0


Southern League 2022-23

War Memorial Athletic GroundThe Pavilion, High St, Stourbridge DY8 4HN, UK

Hitchin Town
3 - 0
Final Score


It was difficult not to think of Hitchin’s last visit to the War Memorial Athletic Ground, where, already in a perilous position in the league table, they won handsomely by 4-0 with a hat-trick scored by Jake Hutchinson who had begun his loan spell from Colchester United.

Today brought a different scenario, since Hitchin had made a better start to the campaign, although faltering recently and the Glassboys were still looking for their first league win of the season. The fixtures were now returning to normal after the brief break occasioned by the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth 11, and the period of mourning has been respectfully observed.

It indeed turned out to be Stourbridge’s first win of the season and it was as comfortable as it was comprehensive, exposing Hitchin’s weaknesses and lack of cohesion. For the Canaries there were changes, and included a player signed a little earlier today, namely Ashley Hay. Among the other starters were Diego Freitas-Gouveia, Leon Chambers-Parillon and Alfie Warman. Included on the substitutes’ bench were regular starters Stan Georgiou and Josh Coldicott-Stevens.

An attendance of 959 was boosted by a youth tournament and it was only seven minutes before the majority could raise a cheer when the first goal went in for the hosts. Hitchin had made a fairly decent start but Reece King’s free header saw the Glassboys shatter Hitchin’s hopes of keeping a clean sheet as they did last season. This goal, simple in its execution came from perhaps the first significant attack, and Hitchin’s response was muted.

It was nearly 2-0 when Callum Gitting’s effort clattered against the underside of the bar, following fine work from Greg Mills. Horlock needed to get low to make a good save following a corner, but his treatment for injury was used for an impromptu drinks break. At this stage, hitchin had created little with long balls looking forlornly for someone in a purple shirt. The more coherent play came from Stourbridge who eagerly seized on an unintentional error to add to their lead after twenty minutes.

A poor defensive clearance from Alfie Warman was scooped up by the lively Mills whose fine low shot found the bottom left corner. Hitchin failed to break out of their quiescent mood but when they did, two successive corners held a half promise. Gleeson first tried the ‘patent’ and it nearly came off but the second was easily cleared. Freitas- Gouveia was a willing participant but bundled off the ball before he could impose himself with any authority. Price, the home keeper was very vocal but with a vocabulary entirely led by a swear word, with one outburst berating an assistant who had the temerity to award Hitchin a throw-in.

A Gleeson free kick saw this volatile keeper punch clear. Tearle shot well wide and Freitas-Gouveia showed good control in possession but his shot was easily saved. These were the Hitchin highlights and it must be conceded that the Glassboys looked class boys at times. It was a disappointing half, and again the Canaries looked lightweight up top with distribution needing urgent improvement.

Hitchin officials, sporting their new green ties, were understandably gloomy during the interval as a third successive defeat was looming and it has seemed a long time since the team had scored a goal. The second half did see an improvement in play and ought to have provided at least one goal, when new signing Hay missed a veritable tap in. He had a chance some time before this when he headed over the bar.

At the other end a cross from Mills provide a realistic chance for number three, and it was a bit of a let off. Freitas-Gouveia had another go but again he was off-target. Tearle was at least a little creative on the right, but two of his passes aimed at Hay were nimbly intercepted and Wilkinson, in a good scoring position haplessly fluffed his lines.

Chances did occur for the hosts and I am pleased to say that they were dealt with very well for the most part, but Hitchin desperately needed a goal to get back into this game. It should have come for Hay after fine work from Freitas-Gouveia whose perfect cross just need an accurate tap to reduce the arrears. It was a howler of an inaccuracy and indeed had it been successful it might have brought a resurgence – a fighting chance at least.

Three substitutions were made, but it made little difference and with just eight minutes of normal time, the hosts netted a third goal, clinical in its deliverance and scored by Glassboys’ substitute Jason Cowley. There was a chance for substitute Jack Snelus but he hooked the ball way over the bar and Horlock prevented a fourth with the save of the match. That prevention meant that the last three games have all ended in 3-0 defeats and our goal difference is taking a bit of a hammering.

Gittings had a late chance for Stourbridge but it was academic by now. Hitchin’s recent slump may not be regarded as a grave situation as yet, but it does cause immediate concern since the rhythm of play has become disjointed and finishing has left a lot to be desired. A good tonic would be an emphatic win and that chance comes on Monday, when St Ives, who have made a fine start to the season, are the visitors at Top Field.

As the game petered out it was amusing to see a gleeful group of small boys deriding Hitchin supporters who took it all without umbrage, dudgeon or pique. There was a tremendous emphasis on youth within the stadium, and as well as all the youngsters there were some stalls doin raffles and tombola.
Some Hitchin supporters did win a major prize of two which meant that they at least did not leave empty handed.

We can only hope that this loss of form on the field can be reversed and as soon as possible in order to avoid another season of hovering within the relegation zone.

Charlie Price, Lee Vaughan, captain, Jack Wilson, cautioned, (Jason Cowley, GOAL, 82 MINUTES), Callum Gittings, Joel Kettle, cautioned, Alex Worley, Reece King, GOAL, 7 MINUTES, Alex Moore, Chris Knight, Tyler Little, (Darryl Knight), Greg Mills. (Rakeem Reid ). Substitutes not used- Joseph Hull, Lewis Sully.

Charlie Horlock, captain, Kye Tearle Malaki Black, Toby Syme, Jack Green, Alfie Warman, Leon Chambers-Parillon, (Josh Coldicott-Stevens ), Stephen Gleeson, Ashley Hay, Diego Freitas- Gouveia, (Callum Kane), Finley Wilkinson, (Jack Snelus). Substitutes not used- Stan Georgiou and Bradley Bell.

Referee – Mr Thomas Staten, assisted by Mr James Scerri and Mr James Henderson.

Attendance 959



Competition Season
Southern League 2022-23