FIXTURES
Saturday 15 December home to Halesowen League kick off 3.00pm.
Wednesday 19 December home to St Ives League kick off 7.45pm.
Please remember discounted tickets are available online.

PLAYER NEWS

  • Matt Lench is available for Saturday having recovered from his hip injury.
  • Edwin Mensah is available for Saturday having completed his suspension.
  • Matt Nolan is available for Saturday.
  • Michael Cain returns on Saturday having missed the Royston game.

HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The academy team beat London Tigers 4-2 on Wednesday away from home. They lost 3-2 to Brentwood at the Arena on Friday morning.

HITCHIN TOWN LADIES FC
Manager Callum Ellis reports on the Ladies latest victory:

Sunday 9th December 2018 saw the return of Hitchin Town Ladies FC campaign in division two of the Beds & Herts Women’s League. It was the renewal of an old rivalry between Hitchin Ladies and Royston Town Development with both teams wanting to show the other what they were made off. It was also nice to see some of Hitchin Town Youth coaches within the crowd supporting the ladies. The increase in support for the Ladies isn’t going unnoticed!

Player availability whittled our numbers down to eleven and we got the game underway with Chaffey starting. Royston pressured Hitchin early but it was Smith restricting their opportunity. A ball was played to Chaffey who in turn sent Gash off on a mazy run. She then laid it off on the left side to Wilfort who curled the ball from 35 yards out over the keeper to make it 1-0. Hitchin didn’t stop there, they forced another corner but the Royston defence dealt with it calmly.

Royston were growing in confidence and one of their their midfielders had a go from 60 yards but the ball was shot wide. Hitchin replied on the counter and won a throw within the Royston half. It was sent into Chaffey but a heavy touch meant the keeper was able to collect. Hitchin were shaken when Royston broke and had a shot which bounced past the far past and out for a goal kick.

Hitchin responded well winning a free kick in the Royston half. It was Huffer who sent the ball into Chaffey and she headed across goal for Simon to volley into the net. 2-0 Hitchin.

Royston were making Hitchin work but a loose pass was calmly dealt with by the Hitchin defence. Each attack from Royston was turned into a quick counter for Hitchin. It was Wilfort who played in Chaffey who hit the ball beautifully for it to be carried by the wind and it glanced over the crossbar. Royston came at Hitchin again but Thompson dived at the feet of the Royston striker to collect the ball.

Just before the break Hitchin nearly made it three when a Chaffey corner was swung into box where Watson headed just over the bar.

Half time! Sponsor Soul Shack was on hand to provide the refreshments which were tasty Snickerdoodles & oranges! The ladies were fuelled ready for the challenge ahead.

It took seven minutes for the next goal and it was Chaffey who got it. A Hitchin free kick was sent in by Huffer which met the head of Chaffey who placed it through the keepers hands. 3-0 Hitchin.

We weren’t done there! Ten minutes on and Hitchin grabbed another! The ball was sent 70 yards from Winter to Chaffey and she dinked it over the keeper and made it 4-0 to Hitchin.

In the 60th minute a little green figure appeared from the car park and it was Franklin running in from travelling, kitted up and ready to go! #committed

Franklin came on for Simon who had never played a football game in winter conditions as she is from America! She had a great game and scored her first goal for Hitchin.

Royston pushed Hitchin and a miskick from a striker found the other striker who chipped Thompson from a tight angle. Huffer came off injured and Simon returned to action on the wing placing Gash into a right back position.

Coming into the closing stages and Royston were trying all sorts to try and salvage something from the game. But the Hitchin defence remained strong and professional and calmly dealt with each attack.

The referee blew for full time and Hitchin Town Ladies extended their lead to seven points at the top of Division Two. Today was an advert for women’s football. Both teams showing respect for one another. Compliments from the referee were made about how respectful our ladies were to the opposition and match officials. It also showed that no matter what hurdle is put in our players way they work as a team to overcome them. The Ladies were left buzzing after the game and they sit on top of the Division Two table for Christmas.

Captain Chaffey came away with player of the match with two goals and two assists.

Squad
N. Thompson
G. Winter
L. Huffer
K. Smith
A. Holland
L. Gash
H. Watson
M. Cain-Murnane
K. Simon
E. Chaffey
R. Wilfort
M. Franklin

We go into the last game of the year away to Welwyn Pegasus Azures. It is a 14:00 kick off at Monks Walk School, Knightsfield, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 7NL.

FOOD BANK COLLECTIONS
Brian Gray received the following email from the Letchworth Food Bank following the first donations from our supporters at recent home games:

Hi Brian

Thank you so much for the donation received at our Letchworth Distribution Centre on Friday. It was fantastic and so very much appreciated.
Thank you again for what you and the Hitchin Football Club are doing for the Foodbank. Without help and support such as yours we could not exist.

Kind regards

Ciaran

We will be taking further donations at the Halesowen game on Saturday. Please take any donations to the club office. The players will be making donations themselves tomorrow as they get behind the club’s initiative to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

HERTS CHARITY CUP
On 5th January we will at last receive the 2017/18 Herts Charity Cup which we won after Hemel Hempstead pulled out of the final. Representatives of the Herts FA will be at the AFC Rushden & Diamonds game to belatedly present the trophy.

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

RUSHALL OLYMPIC
I had intended to field the same team that played against Barwell and Hemel Hempstead with the exception of Alfie Cue replacing the injured Matt Lench. However we received a body blow when Josh Bickerstaff failed a late fitness test. This meant I had to drop Michael Cain back to fill Josh’s position with Scott Belgrove coming in on the right hand side.

I felt we played good football in the first half and scored two excellent goals and this in conjunction with a solid defensive display saw us reach half time 2-0 ahead. Conditions had been very difficult with torrential rain and gale force winds. My half time team talk was very similar to the one I delivered against Barwell. The players were told to break the game down to 5 minute mini matches which they did really well. It was not pretty but it was effective.

Despite conceding late on we continued to defend resiliently and fully deserved the victory. It is always enjoyable to win away from home and this win will help our confidence.

ROYSTON TOWN
The start of the game was reminiscent of our two previous visits to Royston as we got off to a poor start and conceded early goals. It meant we were always likely to face an uphill struggle. However we made a much improved start to the second half and quickly pulled a goal back. Disappointingly we conceded a further goal which put Royston in the driving seat.

We then showed great character to fight back to 3-3 and created a number of chances to win the game. I was really upset when Isaac Galliford was booked for simulation when I felt he should have been awarded a penalty. To add insult Royston then scored the winning goal but overall I was pleased to score three goals and create so many chances.

HALESOWEN
I have previously said that we had a target for moving out of the relegation zone and did not need to win a number of consecutive games. However the Halesowen game is a bit of a six pointer They have a new management team and as always this will boost their players.

We know it will be a difficult game but I want us to continue our current good form in the league.

ST IVES TOWN
St Ives are currently one of the form teams in the league and had a really impressive 3-0 win at Kettering. So again there will be no easy points on offer and we will need to be at our best. We need to make Top Field a difficult place for opponents to visit and make it the fortress it has been in recent seasons.

ROY IZZARD