Barwell 2 Hitchin Town 0


Southern League 2023-24

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

Hitchin Town
2 - 0
Final Score


Hitchin made their second visit to Barwell, with distinct memories of the most recent trip, which was to face Nuneaton Borough who resigned from the league soon after. That was no great surprise given the absolute shambles of their organisation with no programme, team sheet or hospitality. They had hired the ground for a period in a feverish attempt to complete fixtures, but it was doomed.

Being well aware of our recent run of poor results, we arrived with the hope that there would be an immediate improvement. As if to show our willingness we arrived very early at the ground and had to wait for it to be opened, and we received a cordial welcome.

The Hitchin team selection was more or less as expected, but new signings Josh Popoola and Nathan Frater were placed on the substitutes’ bench and Isaac Galliford made a start. So, it was the Canaries of 1992 versus the Canaries of 1865. The home kit was a startling fluorescent yellow, not exactly easy on the eye.

Toby Syme, recently featured on the Southern League website, spoiled the first home attack and at the other end Harry Evans made a good save from a determined effort from Fin Wilkinson. The corner this brought was wasted. Good work from Idiakhoa and Bell saw a cross whipped in that beat everyone for pace.

Enoru made inroads in the Hitchin penalty area, but his soft final pass went astray. Then, off the ball, Emovon fell to earth and was helped off the pitch by Trey Charles. Stan Georgiou was the able replacement. The next Hitchin attack brought a corner and a Bell cross brought another. This looked promising and a quarter of an hour gone with no laborious playing out from the back.

Galliford won a free kick on the right, but this came to naught. A home free kick in a more inviting position was wasted by Ethan Hill. Tearle’s long ball forward was a good idea but needed greater accuracy.

There was a short period of untidy football, punctuated by free kicks. Galliford provided a chance that was astutely defended. Wilkinson sent a cross to Bell that needed Harry Evans to intervene, but Hitchin still looked for attacking possibilities as we reached the half hour mark of good, direct play.

Enoru showed skill in going forward but his final pass let him down. Then, rather against the run of play, a forward ball favoured Brady Hickey whose cunning lob gave Horlock no chance and, frustratingly for the visiting contingent, the hosts were ahead, making the most of this solitary chance. The goal was timed at thirty- six minutes. Ironically this led to some ‘playing out from the back’ and it did not help that the referee astounded all by awarding a goal kick when it was clear that the ball came off a defender.

Idiakhoa was upended and the free kick from Galliford culminated in a fairly tame header from Wilkinson. We were now in stoppage time with only a minute added. This did not take fully into account the time taken to replace the injured Emovon.

The second period began with a home attack deemed offside, followed by a comical miss kick from Horlock that almost gave Enoru a simple chance. Galliford’s free kick from the right coincided with the floodlights coming on and Eadie was a whisker away from the equaliser with Evans saving with his feet.

There followed some messing around at the back from Hitchin who needed to get the ball into the opposition half. A home attack brought a penalty appeal from Ethan Hill which was studiously ignored. Tearle was booked for a challenge on Enoru and Syme went down injured. This allowed an impromptu tactical session by the dug outs. It was a lengthy delay, but no Hitchin substitute was being prepared.

A semblance of a Hitchin attack finished meekly. Home efforts at attack had the same result and Wilkinson chasing a high ball was let down by his first touch. The hosts were gaining more possession, frustrating Hitchin. Enoru forced Syme to concede a corner which proved harmless. Attacking ideas seemed at a premium for Hitchin, but not so for the hosts who won another corner following a decent effort on goal.

Tearle’s aimless forward pass seemed inexplicable as it simply entered empty space. Enoru again came close and may have deserved a goal for sheer persistence. Tidy defending by Barwell spoiled the next couple of efforts. Popoola replaced Cotter and his name seemed to amuse some of the home contingent.

A Barwell free kick from the right saw Horlock save and distribute well but Galliford messed up the opportunity, yet there was a corner, followed by another and a stout defensive header.

Freeman came in as the final Hitchin substitute, replacing Eadie. Wilkinson was active on the right and won a free kick. This effort favoured the home keeper. Then there was a snapshot from range, with Galliford the would-be marksman and this struck the crossbar with some force. It would have been a dramatic and perhaps deserved equaliser with five minutes of normal time to play.

It was a little surprising that the referee added a full seven minutes, and we wondered if there would indeed be a late goal in our favour. That was academic since Enoru slipped by the offside and scored the goal he deserved in stoppage time, and it secured the points for Barwell consigning Hitchin to a remarkable seventh successive defeat. Idiakhoa had a late effort that was blocked. That would only have made the final result look a little more respectable.

The final minutes were painfully played out and this result clearly give the management more to do as we unwillingly hit relegation form. However, both goals were good and made the most of a granted opportunity. Had that screamer of a shot not hit the bar then things may have been different, but we must accept that at present we lack the wherewithal to win, and Dame Fortune has ignored us, but we hope just for the time being.

Harry Evans, Joshua Flanagan, Micah Edwards, Sid Kerr, MJ Kamara, George Ward, Beck-Ray Enoru, Goal, 93 minutes, 2-0, This reporter’s man of the match, Ethan Hill, George Nunn, Brady Hickey, Goal, 36 minutes 1-0, captain, Trey Charles.

Substitutes used – Jahvan Davidson- Miller, Kobe Chong.

Not used- Will Brook, Jesper KutshIenza, Demi Akinwe.

Charlie Horlock, captain, Bradley Bell, Layne Eadie, (John Freeman, 84), Toby Syme, Kye Tearle, cautioned, Dan Emovon, (Stan Georgiou, 12), Kavan Cotter, (Josh Popoola, 77), Jack Snelus, Dan Idiakhoa, Isaac Galliford, Finley Wilkinson,

Substitutes not used – Nathan Frater, Thomas Blennerhassett.

Referee – Mr Lewis Smith, assisted by Mr Guy Thrower and Mr Will Doyle,

Attendance 226.



Competition Season
Southern League 2023-24