Hitchin Town 1 Luton Town 2


Friendly 2023-24

Top Field68 Fishponds Rd, Hitchin SG5 1NU, UK

Hitchin Town
Luton Town
1 - 2
Final Score


There are many among the Hitchin Town supporters who follow the fortunes of our guests today and what a story is attached to Luton Town. Bedfordshire’s only league club achieved real distinction and national admiration for their memorable feat of becoming a Premiership club after a nervous but notable win over Coventry City, and a campaign beforehand that saw them recover from being placed outside the football league to not only rejoining it but wading through the divisions to the highest tier, making it an historic achievement.

It seems incredible now but not too many years ago at Dunstable Town I recall greeting Luton Town at a friendly mentioning that they were Bedfordshire’s senior non-league team. Now they are on the brink of further progress and with a new stadium that has become an imminent reality.

It is worth mentioning that on the day of their parade through the town, in the wake of the carnival, Luton, the town, received a huge boost and it was something of a publicity coup and well-deserved. What a contrast to the negative views and sniggers from many about it being ‘the worst place in England to live’. All the interviews I saw showed pride in both club and town.

It was especially pleasing to see that Hitchin had retained most of the squad from last season. It was indeed shrewd management from the evergreen Mark Burke and I suspect that the players are keen to develop from what was an impressive side, full of unity and purpose at the latter part of last season.

As expected, the Luton youngsters began strongly with a good effort on goal after five minutes, where Canaries’ skipper Charlie Horlock made a good save. A through ball to Wilkinson proved too much for him with the keeper clearing the danger. Then there was a snap shot from Snelus that was just off target. Giwa’s shot for the Hatters was rather weak, and Gouveia’s free kick was over ambitious.

We had a fairly tight and probing twenty minutes on a pristine pitch well watered from earlier showers, but thrills and spills were generally lacking.

The opening goal came from a sublime move, well converted by Tyrelle Newton after twenty- seven minutes, following a smart move from the right and a perfect assist. Hitchin responded positively with Layne Eadie reaching boldly for a significant header that brought a corner and a further effort from Jack Snelus. Gouveia could have made more of his chance, but it was good stuff from the hosts, who exerted what pressure they could against a very competent Luton defence.

We thought that Gouveia was about to snatch an equaliser but the goalkeeper made a fine save to deny him. This came with half- time looming.

Then, right at the start of the second period, Hitchin equalised with their first move and the scorer was Finley Wilkinson. Such opportunism is always to be savoured. Substitute Cav Cotter had a free shot which was saved by the keeper’s outstretched leg and Hitchin continued to attack, with fine move following a corner.

This was followed by two more and a free header for Toby Syme that went narrowly wide. Then there was a free-kick wide on the left, blasted wastefully into the trees. At this stage, Hitchin looked the stronger as the usual mass of substitutions were made. Toby Syme was notable in defence, showing great anticipation and strength.

A further home attack brought another corner, underlining some exhilarating play, which was defended just a little awkwardly. Idiakhoa had a shot that was on target but the keeper did well. Matthews-Lewis, with a free header wondered like the rest of us how he missed it, but it was one of only few chances for the visitors in this second period.

There was a nervous moment when Horlock held an unintentional defensive deflection and then Hitchin had a free kick centrally just outside the area. Cotter shaped up and his effort was deflected for a corner, which was held by the keeper. A bit of Luton pressure was effectively nullified as we headed for full time. A late free-kick led to Luton scoring their second courtesy of Matthews-Lewis in the ninety-third minute which was a bit of a party pooper but a fine goal all the same. It was the winner, of course, and a bit of a shame that it was conceded, since the Canaries had played well enough to claim an honourable draw.

Yes, it was not the Hatters first team, but a development squad, with young professionals anxious to hone their skills and impress, hoping to reach the status of a full professional, which given the enormous competition is a significant achievement.

The attendance was five short of eleven hundred and that was a huge financial boost for the club, and for the players a useful test. I was impressed with the unity and endeavour – being reminded of how well they played at the vital part of last season where points were needed to ensure a respectable mid-table finish. There were new names amidst the old and it would seem that the squad will have both strength and depth.

Charlie Horlock, captain, Bradley Bell, Layne Eadie, Toby Syme, Ciaren Jones, cautioned, Stan Georgiou, Diogo Freitas-Gouveia, Steve Gleeson, Jack Snelus, Isaac Galliford, Finley Wilkinson, GOAL, 46 MINUTES.

Substitutes used – Kye Tearle, Kav Cotter, Ashley Hay, Dan Idiakhoa, George Devine, Charlie Miller, Dempsey Thomas, Marley Stein.

Not used – Jeremiah Lewuor and Liam Miller.

Triallist A, Tyrell Giwa, Josh Odell-Bature, Axel Piesold, Aiden Francis-Clarke, Jack Bateson, Tyrell Newton, GOAL, 27 MINUTES, Zack Nelson, Oli Lynch, Trialist B , Trialist C, Jake Burger.

Substitutes- Jacob Pinnington, Ben Tomkins, Jayden Luker, Trialist D, Millar Matthews-Lewis, GOAL, 93 MINUTES, Tobias Barney, Josh Allen.

Referee- Mr Charles Martland, assisted by Ms Nicolette Bria and Mr Mark Bright.

Attendance – 1,095.



Competition Season Attendance
Friendly 2023-24 1095