Nuneaton Borough 2 Hitchin Town 2


Southern League 2023-24

Kirkby Road4 Newlands Rd, Barwell, Leicester LE9 8AL, UK

Nuneaton Borough
Hitchin Town
2 - 2
Final Score


As most were aware, this fixture had a necessary change of venue. Nuneaton, banished from Liberty Way have made an agreement with Barwell, and will play their home games there until March. The club has suffered from financial problems, and these could well challenge the club’s ultimate survival.

It was the last match for Jimmy Ginelli, as manager and some home supporters made their emotional farewells at the end of the game.

It was clear that Nuneaton were struggling in terms of providing the usual items such as a programme, team sheets and hospitality for club officials at half time and after the match. Indeed, we sympathised with the one or two harassed home officials who revealed an uncertainty in day-to-day matters. We also salute their supporters for their forbearance but not the lout who covered our goalkeeper in beer. Barracking is one thing, but that kind of behaviour was reprehensible.

Long before at his happened, indeed, right at the start of the game, Hitchin had an almost immediate free kick on the right, which was obligingly headed into the net. So, a first minute lead for the Canaries to defend. The scorer of this startling early goal was Finley Wilkinson, who took his chance very well.

Nuneaton responded fairly positively with an attack along the left, with Toby Syme deflecting an intended shot for a corner, which gave Richards a real chance to equalise, but Horlock stood firm. In their next attack, McWilliams’ cross was too high.

The next attack involved Lita, but again the cross from McWilliams was found wanting. Lita’s free shot went across the face of goal and Syme was finding it hot work in the centre of defence, but he stood firm throughout.

Eadie pulled up lame and after some treatment he was gently ordered off the pitch, and the needed to be replaced. This put Stan Georgiou into the fray, something he relished, of course. The Borough continued to probe, with the lion’s share of possession.

Georgiou’s free kick was intercepted but Hitchin won a free kick in a fairly central position. Wilkinson’s shot was firm and on target and Jezeph had to put it behind for a corner with a two handed save. The next corner was interrupted by an infringement and back came the Borough, forcing a corner.

This was cleared with appeals of handball, and Emovon’s cross was good had there been anybody there. But no matter, since Emovon scored what I believe to be his first goal for the club. Again, it came from a fairly menacing cross and the goal was timed at nineteen minutes, and it was met on the volley.

No doubt this was a remarkable score-line and one not generally expected. The hosts were applying a fair amount of pressure and Richards had a shot that provided no problem for Horlock. Richards weaved this way through the penalty area only to save the ball over hit and go out of play.

McWilliams again proved a threat, and it induced some untidy but effective defending from Hitchin, who really needed to obtain more possession as the situations was far from comfortable.

Nuneaton were awarded a free kick, predictably disputed by Steve Gleeson. This was defended but the Borough snapped at heels and pushed each attack as far as they could. Then there was another substitution for Hitchin, with scorer Wilkinson being replaced by Matshazi. Then Horlock was cautioned for time wasting. It was a bit early for that sort of shenanigans.

Next, we had a corner from Nuneaton, which as it came across it seemed the celebrated as a goal, but the referee gave another corner. This brought some confusion as well as a challenge and trickled out for a goal kick. Without a doubt Nuneaton were playing the better football and were visibly aggrieved at the score line. Both McWilliams and Gleeson needed attention and half time was as much as ten minutes away. This delay was a lengthy one.

The restart predictably saw the hosts construct an attack that was neatly foiled, and a Hitchin move along the left met a similar fate. McWilliams was substituted by Bilal Yafal. A good move by Hitchin was intercepted and there was a wasteful shot by Lita.

Another attack was ruled out for offside, but the Hitchin defence was loaded with responsibility. Emovon thrilled with a solo run and a shot that was held by Jezeph. This was within the appreciable stoppage time. Tearle prevented one cross and Emovon continued to inspire. Hitchin battled to half time and took that wonderful lead to the interval. It was generally agreed that Nuneaton had played a lot better than they did at Top Field, where they were soundly beaten 3-0.

The hosts were eager to get on with things at the start of the second half and put in an early attack and then conceded a free kick that looked more dangerous than it was. Georgiou intercepted a forward pass and was fouled in the process. The free kick was defended. A similar kick for the home side saw excellent defending.

A good-looking Hitchin move was spoiled by poor pass, and this accorded the Borough a counter move which again was defended imperiously. Home supporters behind the goal began some repetitive chanting and as this progressed, their team got a goal back, scored by Lita with a low shot in the fifty-seventh minute. Hitchin responded with an ineffective attack, and they knew that they would be up against it. They have faced such situations before and come through. To snatch third goal would have been ideal but it looked unlikely.

They continued to be second best on the aerial battle and snatched at what limited chances they could create. Stenson’s effort looked as if would sneak in but it hit the foot of the post.

For Hitchin the atmosphere was as hostile as the bulk of the 360 in the ground could make it. Snelus tried to storm through on goal but was ably prevented and a home free kick was gratefully caught by Horlock. Better passing was needed by Hitchin in their counter moves.

Hitchin won a corner that was robustly headed away and then a free kick was awarded wide on the left, inviting a decent cross. Oh, the anguish as this effort from Gleeson struck the upright and we were so close to a goal. Then Horlock smothered a chance Matshazi’s attempted cross was put out for a corner which immediately brought another. Gleeson ran to cross a defender’s ricochet, but it was of no consequence.

The battling Snelus won a free kick, which was largely wasted and Horlock made the best save of the game so far. Another cross sailed in, and Stenson headed over by some margin. Matshazi created a chance, and it was Jezeph who made a save that emulated Horlock. Again, Hitchin were so close to restoring a two-goal lead.

It was indeed nervy stuff and Syme went down injured, and it was not a time-wasting ploy. Just to make sure the referee made appropriate gestures to his watch. Emovon, the undoubted hero of the night foiled an attack single handedly and no respite was given to the Hitchin defence. In the eighty-second minute Galliford competed the Hitchin substitutions by replacing Gleeson.

Another Nuneaton charge forward brought a corner, which was an in-swinger but evaded contact. A neat Hitchin attack with Snelus and Galliford ran out of steam and then Hitchin conceded a free kick, wide on the right that would doubtless see a cross. This was tipped over the bar by Horlock at full stretch and Borough had successive corners. These were defended successfully and there was still an appreciable time to go and indeed the referee added a full five minutes, and we all knew it would be more than that; it always is.

Under the cosh is a fair term for it and yes, the home side did get the equaliser they deserved, and Stenson was the hero. It was the ninety-fourth minute. You could not say that Hitchin had squandered the lead but had been under a lot of pressure. They had another corner led by Horlock and soon the whistle went with the home side’s blushes smiled away. It was, however, a fair result. Both teams hit the woodwork and have their goalkeepers to thank for pivotal saves.

My own prediction in our little competition was a 1-1 draw, so I was not that far out. The match was a generally enjoyable one with some good goals and although I confess that I would have liked our lads to hang on for three points, it would have been a bit of a steal and credit must be given to Nuneaton who fought hard to redress the balance and did so, four minutes into stoppage time.

Daniel Jezeph, Cameron McWilliams, Jayden Charles, Kyle Storer, Victor Nirennold, Scott McManus, Kane Richards, Leroy Lita, GOAL,57 MINUTES, 2-1, Matthew Stenson, GOAL, 90 +4 MINUTES, 2-2, Kacy Butterfield, Lathaniel Rowe- Turner. Substitutes used – Bilal Yafal and Prince Manchinelli. Not used- Luke Curtin, Beau Friel and Isiah Osbourne.

Charlie Horlock, captain, cautioned, Bradley Bell, Layne Eadie, (Stan Georgiou), Toby Syme, Dan Emovon, Hitchin man of the match, GOAL, 19 MINUTES,2-0, Kye Tearle, Kav Cotter, Steve Gleeson, (Isaac Galliford, cautioned), Jack Snelus, John Freeman, Finley Wilkinson, GOAL, 1 MINUTE, 1-0, (Arnold Matshazi), Substitutes not used- Dan Idiakhoa and Tommy Blennerhassettt.

Apologies as owing to a lack of an official team sheet I have no details of the match officials.

Attendance 360



Competition Season
Southern League 2023-24