Saturday 12 December – home to Peterborough Sports FA Trophy 2nd round kick-off 3pm. As usual this is an all ticket game and tickets can be bought online up until 12.00pm on Saturday. Usual prices apply and please note that season ticket holders will have to purchase a ticket for this game. Please come and support us in this vital game. Purchase your match tickets here.
The winners will receive £3,750 and the losers £1,000.
NEW CHAPLAIN FOR HITCHIN TOWN
I am pleased to announce that we have appointed the Reverend Nick Smith to be our club chaplain. There will be a separate article on our social media platforms shortly introducing Nick and you will see that he is an ardent supporter of Hitchin Town.
I was saddened to hear of the death of John Ashworth recently at the age of 83. John played 117 games for Hitchin scoring 8 goals making his debut on 21 September 1968 and playing his last game on 14 November 1970. I remember him as a brilliant centre half and an inspirational captain who lifted the London Senior Cup in 1970. To pay tribute to John, Neil Jensen has kindly given permission for me to quote from his book The Men From Fishponds Road:
When players like John Ashworth started coming to Top Field it was a clear indication of the ambition that was prevalent at the club. For Ashworth was a winner, and an inspirational figure on the pitch-he was just the type of character that was needed to harness the potential and push it in the right direction. He played one league game for Portsmouth before moving to Kingstonian and in 1960 played in the Amateur Cup final, finishing on the losing side, but six years later he captained Wealdstone to triumph in that competition. John played for England, Great Britain, the FA, the Isthmian league, Surrey and Middlesex. He was persuaded to join Hitchin from Hendon by his old manager at Wealdstone Vince Burgess, and although 31 years of age he still proved to be a model captain always urging his team on. His stay at Top Field was all too fleeting, but he had few equals in the centre half position over the years.
MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE
I would like to thank Harefield manager Jason Shaw for agreeing to bring his side to the Arena last Saturday and I would also like to thank our ex manager Colin Payne who also helped set the game up. Harefield were a decent side with some useful players including Colin’s son Tom. It was a very worthwhilel exercise for us and was vital preparation for the Mickleover game.
The reason we played an extra half hour after the ninety minutes was because all the players had had 45 minutes against Colchester and I wanted them to all have 60 minutes on Saturday.
Mickleover came to us top of the Northern Premier League and in the first 20 minutes they showed exactly why they were there. We were really up against it as Mickleover played some excellent football. However we defended very resolutely and eased the pressure when we scored the first goal.
We were able to play our way in to the game which I thought was really high intensity and was very enjoyable to watch. I was delighted to get a second goal before half time but as is often said 2-0 is a dangerous score line. I knew the next goal would be vitally important for how the game would go.
I was very impressed by our game management at the start of the second half which frustrated Mickleover and never allowed them to get in to any kind of rhythm. We went on to score the third goal and were then able to see the game out very professionally.
On Saturday we know we are in for a very difficult match. Jimmy Dean has done a great job as their manager since our paths first crossed in the FA Cup in 2015. They are now one of the favourites to win promotion and have a potent strike force. They had an impressive 5-1 win at AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday. They beat us 2-0 at Top Field in the last game before lockdown last season but we had beaten them 4-0 earlier in the season at their ground.
I think it will be a very exciting game with plenty of good football. We will need to defend as well as we did against Mickleover and be just as clinical. I really hope the Hitchin supporters come out in force for this game and become our twelfth man. Lewis Barker came through training on Thursday and will be available and we will have a full squad to choose from apart from Jack Green and Max Ryan.
ACADEMY UPDATE BY MICHAEL JONES
Unfortunately both our games were postponed this week meaning we have not restarted the season as expected.
We now have no upcoming fixtures this year and will have to wait until the new year to get back into our competitive fixtures.
We do still have our trial on Monday 21st December 2020 (3pm – 5pm)
Here at Pro:Direct Academy Hitchin we combine elite development football with a qualification in a NCFE Level 2 or 3 diploma in sport. Students will be trained and educated at The Arena in Baldock. Players will train for 3 days a week and also play at least 1 elite development match once a week.
COMMENTARY ON SATURDAY
HTFC Radio Commentary of Hitchin v Peterborough Sports:
Make sure to tune in to HTFC Radio on Saturday for full commentary of Hitchin’s FA Trophy clash with Peterborough Sports at Top Field if you can’t get to the game. Freddie Cardy and Marac Alionic are your commentators, with coverage starting from 2:45 pm. If you would like a mention, Tweet @CardyFreddie or @MaracAndrzej on Twitter during the commentary, or use the website htfc.radio12345.com
Remember that HTFC Radio have live commentary of every single Hitchin Town FC home game this season.
FROM FAMINE TO FEAST
After a whole month without a game of football I have had the luxury of watching four games in seven days–the friendlies with Colchester and Harefield, the FA Trophy game with Mickleover and Luton under 21’s v Crystal Palace under 21’s which we hosted at Top Field on Wednesday. There is now another game on Saturday as we have brought forward the FA Trophy tie with Peterborough Sports from next Tuesday in the hope of getting a higher attendance–it really has gone from famine to feast!! Let us hope we can return to playing regularly as soon as possible.
LUTON TOWN UNDER 21’S v CRYSTAL PALACE UNDER 21’S
As mentioned above we hosted this game on Wednesday evening and there was an impressive attendance of 200. It was an entertaining game and it was good to be able to help our near neighbours by providing our facilities for their use. We have always had a really good relationship with Luton and let us hope we can reinstate our pre-season friendly with them next season. It was good to meet the Luton chairman David Wilkinson at the game and he was fulsome in his praise of Hitchin Town for our arrangements for the game. We also had an email from Luton complementing us on our hospitality and saying they looked forward to using our facilities again.
HITCHIN TOWN v HAREFIELD
It was good to see Colin at the Harefield game last Saturday. Our ex-manager had a good reason to be present as his son Tom was playing for Harefield. Colin closely follows Hitchin’s results and keeps in regular touch with Mark Burke.
I must also mention the referee for this game as it was none other than Adam Parker. It is fair to say Parks is from the Theo Peters school of refereeing as he at no stage seemed to leave the centre circle!! But to be fair he controlled the game well. I am hoping that Adam will be my next interview for the website as he certainly has a few tales to tell.
BY ROY IZZARD