Hitchin Town 0 Stevenage 3


Friendly 2022-23

Top Field68 Fishponds Rd, Hitchin SG5 1NU, UK

Hitchin Town
0 - 3
Final Score


There was an accidental similarity with both teams inasmuch as both narrowly escaped relegation from their respective divisions. Stevenage retain their Football League status and are confident that matters will improve, as do Hitchin, who were well beaten tonight and were fortunate to concede just three goals – with the last one coming in literally the last second of the game.

The fact that they did not score more was due to some rather heroic defending, with, once again, new signing Teirnan Parker displaying a pleasing level of skill and accuracy. Both he and regular keeper Charlie Horlock had a thorough workout as did the overworked defence.

It is, of course, no disgrace to lose to a professional club and an attendance of almost seven hundred added a bit more to the coffers, but there was indeed a curious and dramatic start to the game where Hitchin needed to replace two players who were involved in a collision whilst attempting to defend an inaugural attacking move. The warhorse that is Lewis Barker and the combative Josh Coldicott-Stevens clashed heads and the former had his shirt stained with blood flowing from his obvious head wound. Both were replaced and were bandaged suitably and their brows mopped by the physios. Naturally we hope that two such pivotal players will not be kept from duty, but I suspect neither will appear at Letchworth in two days time.

The visitors turned out in a stylish all-purple away kit and proceeded to have many a purple patch, where their style was more in your face than a display of studied finesse. Luton were far more stylish and picked us off, whereas Stevenage attacked with relentless and effective ferocity, and each attack seemed to have the potential of a goal. They also towered above our chaps, proving that in some respects, size does matter, and this was confirmed by the number of free-headers and superiority in aerial combat.

The wily professionals did not allow Hitchin to settle, prevented meaningful possession and made them chase the game. An early corner from them saw Horlock just the tip the ball over the bar after its unpredictable flight caused some mayhem. Carl Piergianni headed one over the bar, as did Jordan Roberts – and it was noticeable that they were not effectively challenged.

Arthur Read’s corners were very effective and in one Jamie Reid shot firmly but just wide. Hitchin could not get forward as they were harried into errors or simply muscled off the ball. Another technique was the probing forward pass that saw the Hitchin defence caught short, but to their credit, they coped comparatively well with the constant pressure, particularly in the second half where they (at times dramatically) prevented the conceding of a goal until the last second.

Hitchin free-kicks in inviting positions came to nothing and it proved but a temporary relief to the purple onslaught. For a creditable twenty minutes the ruffled Canaries held out but an inevitable first goal came and it was from a corner headed in with some emphasis by Jordan Roberts. Our announcer, which proved to be our programme editor, had complained that his system was not working properly. He scowled at my suggestion that he used a megaphone, for crying out loud.

In what was the next meaningful attack Reid’s effort struck the foot of the post. A second netted effort was disallowed for offside and Dan Sweeney’s downward header bounced over the cross bar. The second goal was scored, as our announcer said, ‘by someone called Kane Smith.’ Well, we all knew that it was our former player who was at Borehamwood and had now progressed to League status and we are delighted for him, and certainly his goal was a real beauty, following a cross from Roberts. It was a clean strike and an impressive goal, which came after thirty-seven minutes. He later volleyed another effort just over the crossbar.

It is regrettable that Hitchin were unable to construct a meaningful effort on goal in both halves, such was the physical dominance of our opponents. The first half ended with just two goals conceded, but most seemed to think that there would be more. Curiously there was just the one, that late, late goal, but the second half began with a chance that really ought to have been converted.

Luke Norris had a blocked shot and Reid provided the assistance for Jake Taylor to have a go and Horlock’s save was notable. He also saved a snap effort from Arthur Read. The chances kept coming for the pacy visitors and again Hitchin were denied space and progress. Kane Smith and Luke Norris headed over the bar and when Parker came on for Horlock he marked his entry with a fine save from Reid.

Toby Syme prevented a third goal with a timely clearance and Elliott List saw Parker save his effort. Max Clark had a shot that Parker saved and Stan Georgiou cleared another effort off the line. The beleaguered Hitchin defence did really well and deserve credit for their performance under severe pressure. It was just a pity that the Canaries were denied even a token shot on goal as the front runners found the tall Stevenage defenders unremitting and unyielding.

Just when it looked that the team would ‘draw’ the second half, a late strike , again from a corner was headed in by Dan Sweeney. So, as in the Luton game it was 0-3, but the big plus is that over three thousand supporters in both game gave the club a fine financial boost.

The team is in action again at Letchworth in two days time. Of interest in the starting eleven was the presence of Max Hercules and Joe Babbage, and there was the return of Ezra Forde. There were, of course, multi substitutions, which were indeed difficult to keep track of. Only two of the named home squad did not see action. We know that pre-season games are not really a realistic picture of overall strength, but we hope it is not too long before we see a Hitchin goal to get us off the mark.

We also hope that our wounded warriors, Barker and JCS will recover quickly from their various wounds.

Charlie Horlock, Jack Green, Malaki Black, Josh Coldicott-Stevens, Stan Georgiou, Joe Babbage, Lewis Barker, Steve Gleeson, Ezra Forde, Ben Stevens, Max Hercules.

Substitutes used – Teirnan Parker, GK, Rio Dasilva, Jonny Allotey, Finlay Wilkinson, Jake Bunyon, Steve Cawley, Toby Syme.

Substitutes not used- Alex Anderson and Josh Setchell.

Aaron Chapman, Carl Piergianni, Dan Sweeney, GOAL, 90 MINUTES, Jake Taylor, Luke Norris, Jordan Roberts, GOAL, 20 MINUTES, Kane Smith, GOAL, 37 MINUTES, Arthur Read, Michael Bostwick, Jamie Reid, Mackye Townsend- West.

Taye Ashby- Hammond, Luther Wildin, Jake Reeves, Max Clark, Elliott List, Dean Campbell, Terence Vancooten, Danny Rose, Alfie Williams, Jack Smith.

Referee- Mr M Howard, assisted by Mr S Williams and Mr C Farrell.

Attendance 680.



Competition Season
Friendly 2022-23