FIXTURES

  • Saturday 8 February – Home to Banbury – League – Kick-off 3pm.
  • Tuesday 11 February – Away to Hemel Hempstead – Herts Senior Cup – Kick-off 7:45pm.
    • There is no coach to this game.
    • Hemel have advised us that the admission price on Tuesday will be £5 for everyone.

PLAYER NEWS

  • We have signed Ryan Smith an 18 year old midfielder on a work experience loan from Northampton Town.
  • Lewis Rolfe and Josh Coldicott-Stevens are both suspended for the Banbury game.
  • Jhai Dhillon and Alex Marsh both return to the squad for the Banbury game after work commitments meant they were not available at Berkhamsted.
  • Dan Webb and Josh Bickerstaff face fitness tests ahead of the Banbury game.
  • Kye Tearle made his debut at Berkhamsted on Tuesday at the age of 16 years and 215 days which must make him one of if not the youngest player ever to play for Hitchin.

JOHN GRAY
There will be a minute’s applause ahead of the game with Banbury in memory of longstanding Hitchin Town supporter and helper John Gray. The family are sponsoring the game and John’s widow, children and grandchildren will be attending. I spoke to Brian yesterday and he hopes as many supporters as possible will come along to celebrate John’s life. He also wanted to thank everyone for all the lovely messages the family had received. They were particularly touched by the number of players who commented as to how welcoming John had been to them and how he had made them feel welcome. Details of the funeral are still being finalised but will be announced on our website when available.

NORTH HERTS RADIO COMMENTARY
North Herts Radio will be at Top Field on Saturday 8 February 2020, to bring you live commentary of Hitchin Town’s league match against Banbury. As the game remembers John Gray it is appropriate that North Herts Radio are there as John was a regular listener to the commentaries.

Freddie Cardy and Marac Alionic will be your hosts with the programme starting at 2:45pm.

We are on the ‘North Herts Radio Extra’ channel on the North Herts Radio website.

If you are using a mobile device the latest North Herts FM Android App is available to download from the Play Store which will give access to the ‘North Herts Radio Extra’ channel.

North Herts Radio is also available as an Apple App and on Alexa.

HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The academy team were beaten 2-1 by St Albans on Wednesday in a close fought game. They are away to Maidstone on Wednesday 12 February.

HITCHIN TOWN LADIES WITH CALLUM ELLIS
It was League Cup action for Hitchin Town Ladies Firsts on Sunday and the opponents were Herts Vipers who were new to the setup of the Beds and Herts Women’s Football League. They were top of Division Three with 30 points, scoring 79 goals and conceding only 4 from 10 league games. They recently played Stevenage Firsts who play within The FA Women’s Premier League Division One SE and lost marginally 4-3 in a County Cup match. They were therefore tough opposition and a real test for Hitchin Town Ladies Firsts against a wrongly banded side in my opinion. Hitchin Town Ladies Firsts had already asked for the game to be put onto grass for an equal playing field but the request was declined so as usual we get on with it.

Vipers got the game away and it was Vipers that opened the scoring within the first 10 minutes of the game. An error in the back line gifted Vipers their first. Vipers then doubled their lead shortly afterwards and then trebled their lead by the half time whistle. We lost Thompson before half time after a hard tackle and after visiting A&E is now out of football for six weeks. The second half got underway and the ladies had a good spell, attacking the Vipers goal. However Vipers countered and made it four. We lost Darling with half an hour left and after visiting A&E herself is also out for six weeks due to damage to her ligaments. Today just wasn’t our day. Vipers continued to attack the Firsts and showed a great deal of disrespect and a player got booked for kicking out after being out muscled by Klausner. Vipers scored four more and Gash hobbled off clutching her quad. Hitchin were down to nine and continued to play with good spirits, smiling and laughing and not getting too down and out. Vipers added their ninth of the game and the final whistle went.

Congratulations to Vipers on their progression into the Semi-Final of the League Cup.

Thankfully we have a game break before we are away to Houghton on Sunday 16th February 2020.

It was the semi-final of the Chris Renshaw Trophy for Hitchin Town Ladies Reserves and their opponents were Division One side Northwood Ladies FC.

Northwood attacked the Reserves straight away forcing Nemeth into a string of saves. A rare error from Nemeth gifted Northwood their first, a stoppage in play for a head injury for a HLTFC player and a drop ball was supposed to be returned to Nemeth but a shot was taken instead. The Reserves conceded three more before the half time whistle went. The Reserves held strong within the second half and conceded a further two more goals. The final whistle went and congratulations were given to Northwood Ladies FC on reaching the semi-final of the Chris Renshaw Trophy.

The Reserves return to League action on Sunday 9 February 2020 away to Biggleswade Ladies FC 14:00 kick-off.

EJA NEWS WITH NICK CARR
Our U15s had the pick of the results at the weekend as they made their way through to the semi-final of the Hertfordshire FA U15 County Cup following a resounding 8-2 victory against Evergreen Youth. A hat-trick from Lavel Davis-Thomas and further goals from Ryan Samupita, Arnold Marimbe, Richard Kusorgbor, Temidire Fashina and an own goal from an unfortunate Evergreen defender, following a run and cross from Teague Gardiner, completed the rout. The boys will meet Bishops Stortford in the semi-final on Sunday 8th March.

Our U14s, whilst not hitting the scoring heights of the U15s, still had a very impressive win when, for the second Sunday running, they beat a top of the table team. This time it was St. Ives Town who were beaten after goals from Arbnor Kerolli and Rafael Miles helped them overhaul a first half lead by their opponents in their U14 Yellow Division fixture.

Our U18s weren’t so lucky, going down to a strong Ware FC Academy in the U18 Brown Division. Finding themselves unlucky to be 2-0 down at half time, and with two players having to be replaced due to concussion, they could not turn things round in the second half and finished on the wrong end of a 7-0 scoreline.

Just two of our teams are in action this weekend. The U15s are away at Cambridge City Youth, 10:30am kick-off in the U15 Brown Division whilst our U17s are also away, at Barkingside Youth in the U17 Black Division, kick-off is 2pm. Both teams are looking to maintain their position at the top of their respective divisions.

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

TAMWORTH

We travelled to Tamworth on Saturday to face a side lying second in the table and we found ourselves without any recognised central defenders. This meant I had to play jack Green and Ben Walster as dual centre backs with Layne Eadie coming in at right back for his first game for a few months with Jhai Dhillon at left back. Therefore going in to the game I was slightly apprehensive at having to play a completely new back four.

However I thought we defended very well and as the game went on we grew in confidence. We were able to force an error in the Tamworth defence that saw us awarded a penalty with our opponents reduced to ten men. This was a golden opportunity to take the lead and use the numerical advantage but unfortunately we again missed the penalty. This lifted the Tamworth players and supporters while at the same time deflating us. We did not really use the extra man up to half time and went in goalless.

The second half was very disappointing. We wanted to make the pitch as big as possible to be able to pass the ball around making Tamworth have to work really hard but this did not happen. We showed naivety by collecting needless bookings and ultimately a red card which evened the game up. Tamworth were again lifted by the red card and their volatile crowd acted like a twelfth man for them.

To lose 1-0 to a championship chasing side was no disgrace but it really was a missed opportunity.

BERKHAMSTED

Due to work commitments at short notice Alex Marsh and Jhai Dhillon were unavailable which changed the team selection. We started brightly and it was an even game until we had to make further changes when Lewis Rolfe was forced to leave the pitch with a suspected broken nose. We had to rearrange the team and this saw Jack Green again join Ben Walster in central defence. A small positive was that Kye Tearle came on to make his debut and he acquitted himself very well.

We conceded a well taken goal on the stroke of half time. The scorer was Jonathan Lacey a player who I have admired for a long time and who I tried to sign earlier in the season. The second half saw us make a couple of catastrophic defensive errors which saw Berkhamsted go 3-0 ahead. They scored a fourth goal which ended our hopes and the we suffered the loss of Layne Eadie through injury meaning we finished the game with ten men having used all our subs. In the final ten minutes the players worked hard and did not give up but we cannot wait to be up against it before we start to perform.

Berkhamsted are a very good side and I would not be surprised if they were in our division next season.

BANBURY

It nearly always seems to be a close affair when we play Banbury and I would expect another close contest this time. I would anticipate a reaction to our defeat against Berkhamsted and hope the squad will be strengthened by returning players.

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD

This Herts Senior Cup tie represents our last chance to win something. We will obviously be the underdogs but will be looking to cause an upset.

BY ROY IZZARD