Barwell 2 Hitchin Town 1


Southern League 2021-22

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

Hitchin Town
2 - 1
Final Score


Revenge was sweet for Barwell on this bitterly cold day in Leicestershire.In the corresponding fixture at Top Field, Hitchin lobbed a stoppage time winner and today we saw Barwell mocked from behind to win this game with two spectacular, wind assisted goals, both from considerable range.

Hitchin had, so far been quite comfortable after they had taken the lead after twenty-eight minutes. Callum Stead headed the visitors ahead following a Stephen Gleeson corner, and Barwell had not posed any serious threat. They held the lead for sixty-seven minutes, having had the wind in their favour for the first half, without trying any audacious shots from long range.

Hitchin team changes were of interest as Steve Cawley started after his solid performance in the Hertfordshire Senior Cup against Tring Athletic. Jack Green and Malaki Black were partnered as full backs, with Dan Akubuine and Alex Brown on the substitutes’ bench.

It was interesting to note that there had been snow on the artificial pitch earlier in the morning, obligingly washed away by the rain, which had been shot intermittent. Also of interest is the fact that Barwell are faced with fourteen consecutive home games, necessitated by the construction of the 3G pitch.

After the start there was some early indication of eventual man of the match, Lucas Powell inspiring his team, but the forward moves by the hosts were sporadic. The wind, nominally in favour of Hitchin in this first half made accurate passing more difficult. Even so Hitchin had the greater share of forward play. Gleeson, Green and Stead were involved in one typical move, but an effective intervention prevented fulfilment. Lawrie Marsh had the first direct shot on goal and it brought a fair save from Liam Castle, and a corner was conceded.

The wind carried it and Dan Webb could get nowhere near it. Dasilva kept it alive but his pass did not reach Stead. Edjeguele’s persistence afforded a half chance, but little came of it. Stead, going forward saw the chance break down and there was a break away by Barwell, with Dom Brown-Hill and Ben Stephen’s combining but ineffectively. Stead had another chance but was thwarted. Play had been workmanlike for both sides, Barker headed clear close to the goal line.
Seventeen cold minutes had passed and we were in need of more direct action on goal. There was a free-kick, wide on the right, taken by Gleeson and it sailed across and out for a corner. This brought a chance but Marsh’s shot was way too high. Dom Brown-Hills free-kick was cleared by Dan Webb and Cawley began to show some deft flicks and a good awareness of his colleagues. Ben Stephen’s missed shots was academic as he was off-side.

Barker combined with Green whose cross was blocked, but still they probed, and if it was ponderous at times it did seem to have promise. A free-kick, wide on the left was defended. A glancing header from Marsh was dealt with, and Green, Gleeson and Dasilva combined with a soft cross from Gleeson that was defended adequately.

Then there was a free-kick from Gleeson that very nearly found the net, since it was wind-assisted and difficult to judge. A defender did get a touch, however, as a corner was awarded and here there was a breakthrough. Gleeson obliged and Callum Stead rose unchallenged to head Hitchin into the lead. Had he scored two minutes later I would have won the Golden Goal. Never mind. The goal was timed at twenty-eight minutes.

The question was whether or not Hitchin could hang on to this lead or even go on to double it, since they looked the better aside so far. Marsh had another shot, held by Castle, and there was more evidence of subtle play from Cawley. A Dom Brown-Hill free kick for Barwell was defended by Webb and Dasilva latched on to a loose ball, with his intended shot ricocheting off Pepe-Ngoma.

Tristan Dunkley’s shot, saved by Horlock was Barwell’s best effort of the half, and it was so fierce that Horlock seemed winded by it. A neat bit of play from Hitchin brought a corner, and then another. We hoped but this one was not so good since Barker was not able to control the ball to maximise the chance.

Another goal would have been most welcome, to make the most of the wind advantage, but it was not to be and I must say that it was good to get out of the cold for the interval. Cawley’s neat flick for Stead, who looped it over then bar was probably the closest that we came to another goal. Horlock had to make a decent save right at the end of the half.

Hitchin had played reasonably well, keeping it tight, defending effectively for the most part, but the two goals they eventually conceded simply could not be defended against. There was a fine shot from Barker that brought an ‘ooh’ or two, but it was off-side anyway. It was expected that Barwell would step it up a bit to prevent Hitchin achieving their first away win of the season, which does not sound good when it is nearly December, but they were no too far away from it and fell to a couple of magical, inspirational moments that brought two memorable goals.

Hitchin did not play nearly as well in the second half, lacking the fair precision of the first. No substitutes had been employed as yet by either side.
Gleeson floated in a cross that was sent back again, and Webb experienced the same thing. As the half progressed it did look as if this would be a ground out one-nil win, as the hosts were still not able to penetrate.

A good lay-off by Cawley saw Barker shoot wide, and Dasilva’s pass to Marsh brought a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 but he fluffed his lines. In all probability then a second goal would have killed this game off. But as at Lowestoft there was a horse of a different colour. Barwell were not threatening much but substitute Ross Oulton brought this game alive for them with a spectacular goal from within his own half but aided by the tricky wind. It had been noticed that Horlock had a tendency to stray forward from his line and could be vulnerable to a speculative shot – perhaps a one in fifty chance. They had one chance that they put out the ground but this next one was rather special.

Ross Oulton from the halfway line lofted the ball towards the Hitchin goal and Horlock just could not judge it. If you grab an equaliser, one of that audacious quality will no doubt lift the team. Before then we had an announcement of the winning raffle ticket number and one event again it was our chairman who was the winner. Four minutes later and oh calamity a second goal came for Barwell, and a real beauty from range scored by Ben Stephens and it was a worthy winner indeed.

There was still time for Hitchin but it grew increasingly unlikely as mistakes crept in to manifest frustration. They had played so well yet once more could not hang on to the lead. It did not help that every time Barwell wrested possession the crowd shouted ‘shoot!’ And it might just have happened.

They had used the wind more wisely or perhaps more fortuitously than Hitchin and this latest defeat is as unpalatable as those other games we have let slip and the points went with them. Moloney and Meakes came on for Stead and Dasilva but they were unable to make any impact and Hitchin still search for that increasingly elusive away win. Both players and supporters were disconsolate and singing on the coach that the Southern League was upside down came out more as a dirge. We were grateful that ‘Diversion Dave’, our cheerful coach driver found a more or less direct route home, having to ‘wear ship’ only once this time.

It must be put behind us and a home match against Rushden and Diamonds is the next objective and we may retain some confidence because but for those two wonder strikes we may have gone home with three points – but it seems when you are in the basement, someone keeps blowing out the candle.

Liam Castle, Kyron Stabana, Lucas Powell, man of the match, Herve Pepe-Ngoma, William Edjenguele, Dom Brown-Hill, (Ross Oulton, GOAL, 67 MINUTES), Harry Bower, cautioned, Ben Stephen’s, cautioned, GOAL, 71 MINUTES, Tristan Dunkley, Brady Hickey, captain, (Max Brogan), William Warren. Substitutes not used – Max Bradley, Tyreace Brown, Eddie Nisevic.

Charlie Horlock, Jack Green, Malaki Black, cautioned, Stephen Gleeson, Dan Webb, captain, Ciaren Jones, Lawrie Marsh, Lewis Barker, Callum Stead, GOAl, 28 minutes, (Sam Meakes), Stephen Cawley, Rio Dasilva, (Matthew Moloney). Substitutes not used – Daniel Akubuine, Alex Brown and Josh Coldicott-Stevens.

REFEREE: Mr A Cox, assisted by Mr S Dodds and Mr H McKittrick.




Competition Season
Southern League 2021-22