Hitchin Town 0 Bedford Town 0


Southern League 2022-23

Top Field68 Fishponds Rd, Hitchin SG5 1NU, UK

Hitchin Town
Bedford Town
0 - 0
Final Score


In this much anticipated encounter I expect that most Hitchin supporters hoped for an improved performance from The Canaries after the last meeting in September where they were comprehensively outplayed. Ticket sales had been brisk and a bumper crowd was expected at Top Field. The pitch had thawed out nicely and looked eminently playable.

Both clubs have played twenty-seven games, but Bedford had a ten point deficit in relation to Hitchin and were no doubt eager to gather maximum points. Hitchin won the toss and elected to kick towards the Fishpond Roads end, which is a change of recent habit.

There was a potentially alarming start with a Bedford through ball but it was ruled offside. There was a potentially inviting free kick for the hosts and it was a good one from Diogo Freitas-Gouveia that struck the foot of the post.

The next move was a flowing one but Ashley Hay’s shot was found wanting.it should have put the hosts ahead. This was a positive opening for Hitchin but Eadie wasted the next free kick.

Bedford had a chance following a free kick but the headed effort was well wide. Following a throw-in there was an on target effort from Gleeson but Harry Palmer held it with no difficulty. Bedford’s first meaningful attack was set up by Charley Saunders but poorly finished by Hugh Alban- Jones. With a quarter of an hour gone, the visitors were getting a bit more of the ball, but forward moves tended to break down owing to good defending from Hitchin.

A fine through ball from Bradley Bell almost worked well, and Hitchin, persistent and eager, won a corner, which was defended adequately. It certainly gave the suggestion that the game had goals in it. Hitchin had a free kick wide on the left and there was a caution for Bedford’s Edward Gyamfi.

Bell’s cross from the right brought a headed defence from Jack Keble and another corner for the hosts. This was delayed in the usual manner of pushing and shoving but it did involve a dramatic clearance from the goal line by a Bedford defender. Voices raised concern over some crunching tackles, which looked worse than they actually were and the hosts still applied pressure.

Bedford really ought to have taken the lead with a snap attack but Sam Warburton’s shot could only find the side netting. It was a warning against complacency. Warburton was there again with a fine cross from the left that begged connection with no-one suitably placed.

Lewis Barker’s fine cross from the right brought a corner, which was again contained. There were five minutes of normal time before the interval and time enough to sneak a goal. Hitchin had a free kick, centrally outside the area, but the Bedford defensive wall did its job. Another late free kick raised hopes for the home contingent but again it was well defended.Gleeson had a shot that brought a fine save and an off the ball incident and I think Gleeson was cautioned in the melee. Warburton’s late shot proved to be as inaccurate as his other efforts.

This was the last meaningful action before the interval and the game had been so tight that some were predicting that whoever scored first would probably win and that would be the only goal of the game. That seemed a fair shout. And talking of shouting mention must be made of the raucous chanting from the visiting supporters which is always appreciated, one supposes, by their team.

On resumption there was a spirited run on the right from Freitas-Gouveia, foiled by Warburton’s persistence. Tomlinson got away from his marker but his cross to Sanders was a poor one. The same player squandered another chance, but Bedford were now going forward whenever they could. Freitas- Gouveia, seeking out Hay, won a Hitchin corner, robustly cleared by Drew Richardson. It had become end to end stuff, with , quite rightly, no one wanting to settle for a draw.

Gyamfi was proving to be a pest in the penalty box and Hitchin needed to defend carefully, which they did for the most part.Play now had a scrappy intensity that happily gave way to some free- flowing stuff, but still there was no way through for either side. Substitutions were soon to follow, but not before Bell blasted one over the bar. Ciaren Jones’ cross into the ‘mixer’ brought a wayward header.

There was some count when former Canary Callum Donnelly came on for the Eagles, since traditionally he is a player who is both an asset and a liability. And, yes – he was cautioned. There was a Hitchin free kick, again in a central position and again it struck the defensive wall. Howe’s looping shot gave

Horlock no trouble. Bell was replaced by Rio Dasilva, and it was hoped his pace might make a difference. As we neared full time, passes from both sides tended to go astray and we still awaited the bit of creative magic from open play or a set piece. A run and a shot from Tomlinson was blocked. Minutes remained. Hitchin attacked again from the left and ran into traffic. Then with the run of the match, Sanders skipped past three players and shot just wide. It would have been a memorable goal. Substitute Wilkinson saw a shot saved by Palmer, with his palm, by the way. Treatment for Gleeson temporarily eased the tension and we were close to the finale. Gleeson gave way to Josh Coldicott- Stevens and the announcer revealed we had just four minutes of stoppage time.

Both sides had late free kicks redolent with possibilities and Bedford had a very late corner and as soon as it was taken so went the whistle for full time and the highest attendance of the season, 823, had to be content without a goal.

Hitchin had played a lot better than they had at the Eyrie, but it was not enough to be avenged for that defeat and certainly Bedford deserve praise – they did not come to ‘park the bus’ but earnestly tried for maximum points.

Next week Hitchin travel to Huntingdonshire to take on St Ives.

Charlie Horlock, captain, Bradley Bell,(Rio Dasilva), Layne Eadie, Toby Syme, Ciaren Jones, sponsors’ man of the match, Lewis Barker, Diogo Freitas-Gouveia , (Finley Wilkinson), Stephen Gleeson, cautioned, (Joshua Coldicott-Stevens, Ashley Hay, Daniel Idiakhoa, Jack Snelus. Substitutes not used- Stan Georgiou and Joshua Allen.

Harry Palmer, Drew Richardson, Sam Warburton, Jack Keble, Charley Sanders, captain, Hugh Alban Jones, Connor Tomlinson, Joe Butterworth, (Callum Donnelly, cautioned,) Edward Gyamfi, cautioned, William Owens, Kai Phelan, (Jermaine Howe). Substitutes not used- Afolabi Soyemi- Ololade, Joshua Page.

Referee – Mrs J Bloxham, assisted by Mr J Casey and Mr A Tooley.

Attendance 823.



Competition Season
Southern League 2022-23