Saturday 17 November away to Stourbridge League kick off 3.00pm. Coach leaves at 10.30am.
Wednesday 21 November home to Leiston League kick off 7.45pm.
HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The academy side were beaten 3-2 at Staines on Wednesday.
My life has now returned to normal after the excitement and madness of the F A Cup run. What a day Sunday was for the club. We attracted 3,148 to Top Field as the whole town got behind us. It was a great atmosphere and the players responded with a top notch performance. Live coverage on BBC was excellent having watched the playback and it is so good to see Hitchin Town back on the map and bringing great publicity to the town.
The behaviour of the supporters was exemplary. We chose not to segregate and there was not a hint of trouble as the Hitchin and Solihull supporters joined together in the bar and in the ground. Our arrangements could not have gone better and the ticketing system worked like a dream as we got all 3,000 supporters in the ground before kick off. Our safety officer Len Leroux who deserves a medal for what he did in overseeing all the match day arrangements received a phone call from the police this week praising the way we handled the game. Indeed many supporters also sent kind messages complementing us.
As I said in my F A Cup diaries it was great to see Top Field full and it brought home how vital it was that we won the battle to save our wonderful ground. Just think there could have been a Tesco supermarket instead of a never to be forgotten F A Cup tie. I was so pleased to see so many family groups and young supporters present and we need to do all we can to make sure they return for future games.
- Macsen Fraser is likely to be out injured for some time.
- Alex Anderson faces a fitness test before the Stourbridge game.
- Jack Green faces a fitness test before the Stourbridge game.
We were very grateful to North Herts District Council for allowing us to use Butts Close on Sunday and they complemented us on the way the parking was stewarded. I am delighted to announce that donations of £276.90 were made on the day and this will be passed on to the Royal British Legion together with half the profits from the auction of the commemorative shirts. Details of the auction will be announced shortly.
PAST PLAYERS AT THE SOLIHULL GAME
A number of former players were at the Solihull game last Sunday. They included the following (and I make it no less than 27):
- Carl Williams
- Brett Donnelly
- Luke Donnelly
- Ian Donnelly
- Callum Donnelly
- Paul Donnelly
- Ben Walster
- Danny Payne
- Lewis Rolfe
- Ian Lindsay
- Dave Taylor
- Connor Vincent
- Mason Spence
- Paul Giggle
- Kane Smith
- Lucas Kirkpatrick
- Carl Stock
- Matt Nolan
- Chris Harvey
- Will Wright
- Dave Corran
- Simon Martin
- Matt Lench
- Steve Conroy
- Jon Bone
- Peter Clarke
- Robin Wainwright
It was great to see so many past players pay to watch their former team and it shows just what a special club this is. If you know of any other ex player who may have been there please let me know.
BARWELL GAME TO BE PAY WHAT YOU WANT
It has been decided that our league game with Barwell on Saturday 1 December will be the latest of our pay what you want games. Pay what you want has proved to be a popular concept and has led to bigger attendances than would otherwise have been expected whenever it has been tried while supporters have been very fair with their donations.
The reason for making the Barwell game pay what you want is to reward the 3,148 supporters who provided such great support at the Solihull game. We would like as many supporters as possible who may have been attending their first Hitchin game to return to Top Field so hopefully making the Barwell game pay what you want will give them that incentive. It was great to see so many family groups against Solihull and again pay what you want will hopefully encourage them to return. It is important we build on the momentum the F A Cup has provided and reach out to all our new followers.
It was great to see Top Field full against Solihull and hopefully we can get another bumper gate against Barwell. The atmosphere is so much better with a decent sized crowd and it can inspire the team.
We would like to make a contribution to charity from the donations that are made on the day and our chosen charity is Young Minds. This charity is fighting for young people’s mental health and offers support and help to young people with all manner of mental health issues. Young Minds say they are ”leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges”. At a time when the football world is beginning to take mental health issues very seriously Young Minds seems a very appropriate charity to support. Ruth Fox who is speaking on mental health issues at Canary Club on 13 December works with Young Minds so again it all fits in very well.
Our social media team will be getting behind the pay what you want game with Barwell to ensure maximum publicity. I hope you will attend and please bring a friend.
Neil was not at the Solihull game on Sunday as he was visiting his son in Japan. Unfortunately Neil is currently in hospital in Tokyo because of a blood pressure issue. He hopes to leave hospital tomorrow and should be able to fly home next Tuesday. Everyone at Hitchin wished Neil a speedy recovery.
HERTS SENIOR CUP
We have reduced the prices for the Herts Senior Cup game with Hemel Hempstead on Wednesday 28 November to £6 adults, £4 concessions and £2 13-19 year olds. There is a further £1 discount available online.
MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE
Sunday was a memorable day that will live long in the memory. Everything about the day was right apart from the result. We played really good football and caused Solihull problems. We really gave them a scare and manager Tim Flowers told me afterwards that he had settled for a replay before their late goals. I did not think Noah fouled their forward in the penalty incident but he showed his experience by planting his leg in the penalty area and waiting for Noah to make physical contact. That was a clever ploy. After the penalty we had the wind taken out of our sails while Solihull became more confident.
The second goal was a killer blow but we never gave up and I am proud of the players not just for Sunday but for their efforts throughout the Cup run. I had the pleasure of playing in the team when we last reached this stage and had been telling the players how great it is to be involved in a Cup run. Now they have experienced it for themselves I hope they will get the taste for more next year.
Finally I must thank our supporters who turned up in such vast numbers and created a great atmosphere. The players really appreciated your support and they put their bodies on the line to try and produce a victory for you.
AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS
We started the game very brightly and played some good football producing shots on target. Rushden took the lead with a superb strike and this gave them momentum. When they added a second goal early in the second half I wondered whether we would throw in the towel as the events of Sunday began to take their toll.
I need not have worried as we showed great character to fight back. We scored an excellent goal and threw the kitchen sink at Rusden in the last ten minutes. Their keeper made a great save and we hit the inside of the post but as often happens when a team is struggling we had no luck. I really felt we deserved a draw and their manager admitted afterwards he was relieved to get the victory. Overall I was pleased with the resilience the team displayed particularly after the energy sapping nature of the Solihull game.
STOURBRIDGE & LEISTON
It certainly does not get any easier as we travel to Stourbridge on Saturday. They are second in the table level on points with leaders Kettering. They are unbeaten at home in the League and have only lost one game all season.
I expect a similar game to Solihull as Stourbridge will be big, strong and direct. We need to keep playing as we have done in recent games and I think we are developing but we need results.
Leiston are fourth in the table and are the leading scorers in the division. This will again be a difficult task but we must have the belief that we can compete with these top sides. We really have to start putting points on the board to avoid getting involved in a relegation battle.