Weekly update from Mark Burke, 30th March 2018.
We produced an excellent first half performance where we completely dominated and scored four goals and indeed could have scored more. It was very enjoyable to watch and I looked forward to the second half. However I was disappointed with the performance after the break and while we still created chances we did not punish Dunstable. But I must give credit to Dunstable who worked very hard to limit our chances.
I would like to thank all the Hitchin supporters who travelled to Dunstable and made it seem like a home game and I was pleased we rewarded you with the win.
I went in to the game quite nervously as I had to give a 17 year old goalkeeper his senior debut and was missing some key players from the squad. However Josh Mollison deserves great credit as he grew into the game and made some excellent saves which helped set up our first ever win at Stratford.
I was disappointed with the defending of the corner that led to the equalising goal but we showed great character to come back and retake the lead. In the second half we defended very well and made sure we saw the game out to secure victory.
I have told all the players that the games leading up to the cup final are their opportunities to impress me and secure their place in the cup final squad. The last two performances have given me plenty to think about.
TIVERTON AND KINGS LANGLEY
I will be using my squad to the full extent with all players having a chance over the two games on Saturday and Monday so I can make the final choice for Wednesday’s cup final.
Tiverton have had an excellent season and are still in with an outside chance of reaching the play-offs but I am targeting a top ten finish so will be looking for a positive performance.
At Kings Langley on Monday it will be great to meet up with my old mate Steve Conroy. He has done a good job as manager to secure premier division football for Kings Langley for next season but there will be no room for sentiment on Monday.
I will repeat what I said before the original game was postponed.
It has been 12 years since we last won the league cup and I will be looking to emulate my old mates Darren Salton and Ken Gillard who were in charge when we won at Bromsgrove. It was a very enjoyable evening and those that were present to witness that victory will remember how good it felt.
It is one of the most important games of our season and there is a big financial reward at stake. I urge all supporters to turn up [on Wednesday evening] to really get behind the players who are desperate to reward the loyalty of our followers. Your support really can make a difference and this is a major trophy in our season. Winning silverware is what we all want to do and let us hope we take advantage of home advantage under the Top Field floodlights.