Coalville Town 1 Hitchin Town 0


Southern League 2023-24

Owen Street Sports Ground107 Owen St, Coalville LE67 3DA, UK

Coalville Town
Hitchin Town
1 - 0
Final Score


Hitchin’s visits to the Owen Street stadium have not been bathed in success. The Ravens have been defeated at Top Field and have inflicted some severe defeats on the Canaries at Owen Street. The recent run of Hitchin’s successive defeats has perplexed supporters, who at each game hope that this dreadful run might come to an end. We were within minutes of avoiding defeat and had we snatched it it would have been no injustice.

It was pleasant to recall that thrilling 4-3 win over Coalville at Top Field, early in the season, even if it seems a distant memory. We were, of course, very curious about the final team selection. The main news was the inclusion of the two loan players from Luton, Jack Bateson and Ollie Lynch. Fin Wilkinson was on the bench. Of interest was the Ravens’ inclusion of new signing Leroy Lita, who played in Nuneaton’s last game, at Barwell and scored the goal to secure a 2-2 draw that, of course, was rendered meaningless by Nuneaton’s resignation the following week.

There was an immediate chance for Hitchin, and a foul against them just outside the penalty area, brought the free kick, a caution for a home player, a missed opportunity from a corner and some loud comment from the home manager. This explosive start saw Hitchin keep the momentum amid some snarling challenges. Bell made an incursion Into the box but failed to get the shot away.

Kpakpe was cautioned for preventing Berridge from a possibly meaningful attack and the free kick went harmlessly astray. Snelus’ pass to Bell saw the latter fire weakly into the goalkeeper’s hands. This was good from Hitchin so far and good work from Lynch provided Idiakhoa with a chance, but he fired over the bar.

Coalville were restricted hitherto, with half chances coming from long balls, and there was an incident involving a blocked shot, no advantage played, and Coalville were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area, in a tantalising position. Hitchin had a four-man wall and Doyle – Charles shaped for the kick that struck the wall and the second chance went wide.

Kpapke conceded another free kick for smothering an opponent and we had the first real effort on goal with Horlock stretching to save the header, following the decent free kick. A home corner soon followed and the play emanating from it exhibited some good Hitchin defending. It was now some time since there had been a proper effort on the Coalville goal. Half an hour had expired, and Lita had his first chance, which was foiled by Horlock. His next attempt was ruled offside.

Eadie put an exploratory long ball forward, which led to something resembling an attack, but it was too elaborate. A scuffle saw Lynch smothered without recompense, but Bell took a free kick from another move, but this was of negligible worth. Idiakhoa won Hitchin’s first corner, which was beaten away and subsequent play was fanciful but ineffective.

Coalville had a chance, but the vital player fell over. We were just a few minutes from half time, and it was clear that Bateson and Lynch had helped tighten the gem as well as providing ideas. Bateson’s forward ball needed careful monitoring by goalkeeper Paul White. Two additional minutes were added, with Hitchin on the attack, with Galliford managing a shot, albeit into the hands of White.

At the other end Eadie we booked for a rather silly foul and the resulting free kick was wasted.

We were of the opinion that Hitchin needed to hold on and perhaps improve up front where we looked decidedly lightweight. Idiakhoa was cautioned for a foul on the edge of the area. Putman curled it in and watched it sail out of play.

Hitchin were now called upon to defend a flurry of attacks, which they managed but not entirely without discomfort. Something resembling a forward move was instantly deconstructed and after Horlock had saved a fierce shot, he spilled the ball but was unfairly challenged. There was a move on the right which brought a free kick, taken short and resulted in corner, which was wasted. Another foray saw Galliford have a go and after he secured the optimum position, he then put the ball into the knot of supporters behind the goal.

Paul White made a superb save from Snelus who looked as if he would convert. Georgiou’s chance was promising but he fired wide. The Ravens had made two substitutions, and for now Hitchin were forging chances. Jones replaced Kpakpe, which suggests he is now over that debilitating injury. Bell tried to cross but the ball was deflected for a corner, but this was a good spell for the visitors. An elaborate corner was concluded by Galliford’s wild and inaccurate shot. Lynch had a good run but when about to shoot found the ball was absent. Lita was a bit of a nuisance as he wriggled into the box and then won a corner. It was another short one, and both sides seemed to favour this option, despite the lack of success.

Sheer persistence saw Hitchin get forward again but passing was questionable. One interception resulted in a home attack and a Horlock save. Lynch was a bit isolated up front and we wondered if Wilkinson would be brought on. He was, for Bell, but there were only minutes remaining. From a defensive error, Snelus had a snapshot, wonderfully saved by White. Snelus was battling as if his life depended on it, and I thought it would be good if he could be rewarded by a goal.

Freeman came on for Eadie and the close passing in midfield was causing some errors and Lynch’s shot needed a good save. Freeman’s cross brought a corner which was beaten away and body language from both sets of players suggested they were confident their team would win, and right at the end the Ravens broke through to score, following a weak moment in defence. It was heartbreaking given the effort and performance from Hitchin who were unlucky not to have snatched the lead themselves. The goal was timed at eighty- six minutes and the scorer was Timothy Berridge.

There were but the four additional minutes left before yet another defeat. It is cold comfort to say that this defeat was an honourable one. We could not have asked for more effort. A smile of fortune would have been welcome, a point even more so. Travelling supporters were somewhat disgruntled and with good reason. We continue to descend in the league table and if it is not perilous yet, it could be soon. To end on a positive note, Hitchin did not deserve to lose this game, and but for White’s instinctive saves, we might have had three points, maybe settled for one, but coming away with nothing was the hurtful reality.

Paul White, Alexander Dean, (Andi Thanoj),v Eliot Putman, Roddy McGlinchy, Ashley Carter, Joe Doyle-Charles, captain, (Luke Shaw), Timothy Berridge, GOAL,85 minutes, 1-0, Wesley York, Herve Pepe, Leroy Lita, (Ashley Chambers), Scott McManus. Substitutes not used- Ben Hart, Terrell Pennant.

No detail of confirmed cautions.

Charlie Horlock, captain, Bradley Bell, (Finley Wilkinson), Layne Eadie, cautioned, (John Freeman), Toby Syme, Alex Kpapke, cautioned, ( Ciaren Jones), Jack Bateson, cautioned, Stanley Georgiou, Oliver Lynch, Dan Idiakhoa, cautioned, Isaac Galliford, Jack Snelus, this reporter’s man of the match.

Substitutes not used- Kye Tearle, Kavan Cotter.

Referee- Mr Robert Massey- Ellis, assisted by Mr Brian O’ Sullivan and Mr Ian Croston.

Attendance 379



Competition Season
Southern League 2023-24