Biggleswade Town 0 Hitchin Town 0


Southern League 2021-22

Langford RoadLangford Rd, Biggleswade SG18 9JT, UK

Biggleswade Town
Hitchin Town
0 - 0
Final Score


Since the FA Cup encounter between these sides, where Hitchin emerged victorious in what was probably their best performance of the season, things have been different. The Bedfordshire club have secured some impressive results whilst Hitchin have seen their own destiny take a downward turn. For them the only way up is from the garnering of points, which has become an urgent necessity if they are to maintain their status as a Premier Division club in this division.

The club’s bulletin revealed that midfield/striker Luke Brown has left to join Stowmarket and this comes at a time when current players need to rally. Luke’s late strike that hit the post at Hednesford could well have won that game and he was well to the fore in the notable draw at Tamworth. Even so, I wish this likeable player good fortune at his latest club.

But there was some good news as a new signing, experienced midfielder Stephen Gleeson made an impressive debut, adding strength and solidity to the team. Lewis Barker returned to duty after his facial injury and Matthew Moloney was pushed further up front.

What followed was a creditable performance by Hitchin, who looked likelier to score but again found that they could not create that vital spark in front of goal. To say that neither goalkeeper had a full on save to make might give the wrong impression since this game was quite absorbing, and after the Waders were reduced to ten men following skipper James Peters’ second yellow card it made for an attacking finish from Hitchin who simply could not turn effort into a goal, the closest we came to this was a creditable late effort from Alex Brown.

Club secretary, Roy Izzard confidently predicted a Hitchin win, whereas normally he keeps his own counsel. His prediction was not fulfilled but it was clear that Hitchin appeared to have turned one corner on the road to recovery. A point is a point and a clean sheet is welcome but there was a distinct feeling that given the overall performance this was two points lost, perhaps coloured by this being seen as a must win game. In our position, every game is a must win, being the only club in the division to be short of double figures in points.

Biggleswade have found goals easier to come by and have notched seven in each of two games, but although they did get the ball in the net on one occasion this was just a natural reaction as the off-side flag had been raised.
Apart from that Horlock was not threatened, except when Lewis Barker’s defensive move almost put into his own net. We forgive him.

The opening was tight, but exuberance and the wind meant that a number of passes were over hit. A couple of early free-kicks from Hitchin saw Dan Akubuine in fine fettle, aiming for the waiting head of Dan Webb, but this was defended as was the next one when Gleeson’s pass to Ciaren Jones for a similar cross that was a defended in similar fashion.

A free-kick for Waders was sent in by Kane Ferrell and this won a corner but Ben Stevens was far too strong. Other attempts at attack from the visitors were caught off-side and a shot from range by Blake D’Arcy was as optimistic as it was inaccurate. It was a nod to the fact that the midfield was a combative zone. A free-kick from Hitchin resulted in a blocked shot from Marsh and a cross from Ben Stevens was deflected for a Biggleswade corner, defended well by Barker.

Attempts were made to bring Stead more into the game and these were relatively successful, but he was monitored carefully. Dasilva was seeing quite a bit of the ball and was confident in possession. Horlock held another Farrell free-kick. A fair move involving Stead, Marsh and Moloney brought a corner and I was already beginning to think if there was to be a goal it may well come from a set piece. Gleeson’s corners were of good quality, but the best we got was a blocked shot from Dasilva and an effort from a persistent Stead that went into the side-netting.

As we approached the interval there was one more chance for Hitchin, following a corner but it failed to trouble Jake Alley. As in my neighbourhood yesterday, there were few fireworks in this game and indeed, as before, what I call the vital spark was lurking somewhere else waiting to be discovered. By this I mean that bit of creative individuality that comes from the team effort. We wanted to see Callum Stead do what he had done in our two league wins, and turn a half chance into a remarkable goal.

Nevertheless, we were not despondent as it was solid from Hitchin, with no concession of free-kicks in dangerous areas, and play was direct rather than ponderous. The way that Hitchin started the second-half was very encouraging, with Barker’s fine cross giving Moloney a free-header that was over the bar – then, following a Biggleswade attack came Barker’s blooper. Dasilva was caught out on a forward run and Barker hooked his shot over the bar. Sam Squire combined well with Farrell, but Silva could do nothing with the cross. As it turned out, he was booked for simulation, claiming he merely slipped.

Hitchin brought on Cawley for Dasilva which surprised me a little given Dasilva’s energetic involvement, but Cawley proved an able deputy with some perceptive touches. Alex brown shaped up for a shot and found himself dispossessed. Marsh was fouled on a run and Peter’s was cautioned. Hitchin won a corner from the free-kick and Matthew Hall’s defensive move sent the ball almost out of the ground and perhaps should be invoiced for it.

Then there was a curious moment that brought some learned explanation from the referee’s coach/mentor. The assistant referee flagged for an off-side, which seemed unnoticed by the referee, and the flag was kept aloft with a degree of patience. Play continued and Peter’s committed a foul and was dismissed for a second bookable offence. Would the assistant draw the referee’s attention to this? No. I wanted to ask the referee about this in the Board room, but Waders manager Chris Nunn was deep into his own assessment of the game (which was not at all flattering to the teams), and it would have been undiplomatic to interrupt him in mid flow.

I did listen to the coach/mentor, but for me it was like listening to direction asked for on a country road and you are more lost by the second sentence but nod as if you are still in the mix of understanding.

So, Waders were down to ten and they immediately reorganised and prepared to defend in depth, which they did, and well. It was frustrating for the Hitchin team and their supporters as this is the second time in recent games there have been up against ten men for a goodly portion of the match and have not been able to make it count.

A good cross aimed at Stead saw the striker just denied by Alley – Hitchin were pushing against time, and we sighed at wasted opportunities at the ballooned ball or the wayward pass. There were enough chances and the hoped for last gasp goal and maximum points was not in the final script.

So we were left to take what positives there were. It was a generally good performance, with Gleeson seeming to be a valuable signing. Barker was back and the team looked better for it. Wing backs/full backs Brown and Akubuine gave the team width, and Webb and Jones were influential in defence and midfield. Moloney’s shift in a forward role was a useful experiment.
As I said, a point and a clean sheet might well be very welcome under other circumstances and the team needs to go again in search of that elusive goal or goals against Leiston on Monday at Top Field. The Suffolk side have already dumped the Canaries out of the FA Trophy and will feel confident. They won again today.

Talking of the FA Trophy, Biggleswade have a home tie next Saturday against one of the stellar names of the past – Enfield, and we wish our Bedfordshire neighbours every success, even if they stubbornly refused to yield maximum points to Hitchin today.

Jake Alley, Joe Howe, Kane Farrell, James Peters, captain, dismissed after two cautions, Matthew Hall, Russell Short, Ben Stevens (Magloire Muyembe), Roman Silva, cautioned, (Robert Parker), Joe Neal, Sam Squire, cautioned, Blake D’Arcy, (Luca Cardines).
Unused substitutes: Stevan Shaw and Shane Bush.

Charlie Horlock, Dan Akubuine, Alex Brown, Stephen Gleeson, Dan Webb, captain, Ciaren Jones, Lawrie Marsh, Lewis Barker, Callum Stead, Matthew Moloney, Rio Dasilva, (Stephen Cawley).
Unused substitutes: Stanley Georgiou, Elliot Kettle, Malaki Black and Ryan Smith.

REFEREE: Mr Matthew Norton, assisted by Mr Thomas Cartwright and Mr James Keane.




Competition Season
Southern League 2021-22