For their latest pre-season game the Canaries travelled to the Spartan South Midlands League Division Two side Pitstone and Ivinghoe, which had a seven o’clock kick-off owing to the absence of floodlights. Having played the Spartan Premier side, Arlesey Town on Tuesday, there was an understandable difference in terms of quality, which might explain the visitors obtaining a five goal lead by half-time.
Praise is due to the Spartan side that played a lot better in a second-half which they ‘won’, scoring the solitary goal of this second period. After labouring against Arlesey for eighty minutes before scoring, Hitchin hit the hosts with a first minute goal scored by Ricardo Green. This signified a thorough domination by the Canaries whose second goal came after thirteen minutes and it was scored by James Verney, yes the very chap who saw off Arlesey with those two late goals. He placed his shot neatly and ‘nutmegged’ the goal keeper in doing so.
Verney was there again a minute later, following a decisive solo run culminating in an imperious finish. This striker came close on another two occasions and praise is due to the home keeper for denying the finish. From a Hitchin corner this keeper almost fumbled to let in the lurking Verney, but he kept his composure well enough. The fourth goal came from a smart move along the left and Lukas Didik converted from the cross, and we were three minutes away from the half hour mark.
Verney was denied again when the keeper intervened smartly and he then had to make a second save moments later. Kieran Barnes was disappointed when he looked certain to score but the ball was just clipped away for a corner. This was hastily booted off the line by the home right back, but a fifth goal came five minutes before the interval – also from a corner and Jack Thomas was the scorer.
One unsavoury moment occurred when Verney was bundled over by the home number five who was cautioned for the rash challenge. The free- kick sailed over the bar. The hosts had few direct efforts – one was a free header that went narrowly wide, but they did get a consolation goal late in the game. The hosts played well In the second half and were a good deal more creative, but chances for either side were limited .
One real plus was the fabulous condition of the playing surface which has obviously undergone tender care and is a credit to the club. So from Pitstone we return to Top Field to face an Arsenal X1, with a visit to Eynesbury rovers the following Tuesday.
Josh Mollison, Taishan Griffith, Ryan Wing, Lukas Didik, GOAL, 27 MINUTES, Joe Gauge, Lewis Castle, Ricardo Green, GOAL, 1 MINUTE,, Scott Belgrove, James verney, TWO GOALS, 13 AND 14 MINUTES, Kieran Barnes, Leon Okuboyejo. Substitutes – Jack Thomas- GOAL, 41 MINUTES, Alex Taylor, Leon Lobjoit. Apologies for any errors.
No details or opposition were available. Attendance was about 50.
REPORT BY PIPEMAN