Saturday 12 January Away to St Ives League kick off 3.00pm. There is no coach to this game.
Tuesday 15 January Away to Stratford League kick off 7.45pm. Coach leaves at 3.30pm.
Please note that coach tickets now need to be purchased online. Please see here for full details.
- We are delighted to announce that Alfie Cue has permanently signed for us from Dartford. Before he was only on loan.
- Matt Nolan is available for the St Ives game.
- Jay Dowie and Michael Cain will be assessed before the St Ives game.
As you will have seen the old dug outs have now been dismantled. The new dug outs will be installed over the next couple of weeks. The gross cost is just under £13,000 and they are the most up to date model.
Other improvements will follow and we will let you know as and when they happen.
HERTS CHARITY CUP
We were presented with the Herts Charity Cup last Saturday and we also received a charity donation of £300 from the Herts FA. We have used this to give £150 each to two mental health charities Young Minds and Shaw Mind Foundation. We are giving a further £100 to Young Minds out of the proceeds of the recent Pay What You Want Game.
FA CUP SHIRT AUCTION
I should have mentioned last week that the profit on the auction of the Solihull shirts was split 50/50 between us and the Royal British Legion and amounted to £320 each. This profit was the difference between auction receipts and the cost of the shirts. The extra £280 to the Legion was the Butts Close parking money.
HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The academy side beat Brentford 3-1 on Wednesday. Charlie Moss scored 2 and Cameron Edwards got the other goal. Next Wednesday 16 January they travel to Brentford for the reverse fixture.
HITCHIN TOWN LADIES FC
The Ladies play Bedford Development this Sunday 13 January at Offley Recreation Ground kick off 2.00pm.
EJA TEAM NEWS
Three of the four Hitchin Town EJA teams were in action last weekend.
The U18s played away at St. Albans City looking to improve on a goalless draw between the two sides earlier in the season.
A change in shape helped the boys to attack the opposition box more effectively than in previous games. This led to the opening goal for centre back Liam Matthews which took the boys into the break 1-0 ahead.
The second half started in similar fashion although St. Albans were awarded a dubious penalty to bring the game Level. Undeterred, the boys went on the attack again and very quickly restored their lead when Jack Holmes, the other half of the centre back pairing, pounced on a mistake by the keeper who dropped a lofted ball served into the box by midfielder Josh Adams. Good game management earned the boys all three points as they saw the game out at 2-1 to push the team up the table.
Our U16s lost out in their EJA Chairman’s Cup tie going down 3-1 at home to Wisbech St. Mary’s with Tyler Lowden grabbing the consolation goal for Hitchin.
Our U14s fared much better in their Hertfordshire FA County Cup tie at home to Hemel Athletic Youth, although they were made to work hard for the result with the Hemel goalkeeper in great form to keep the scores at 0-0 at the half time break.
The second half carried on in similar vein with Hitchin creating a number of chances but unable to open their account. However, Cathal Fee had other ideas as he powered a header into the net from a corner to put us 1-0 up.
He quickly followed this up with his second goal of the game before Hemel were awarded a penalty. Goalkeeper Jovan Thiara dived to his left to make the save however, a Hemel forward was first to react to smash in the rebound, although there was more than a hint of encroachment!
Cathal Fee quickly completed his hat-trick to restore our two goal advantage before Brandon Owen rounded off the scoring to complete a 4-1 win and put us in the quarter final for the second year running.
This weekend all four EJA teams are in action on Sunday. The U18s make the long trip to Ipswich to take on Woodbridge Town in the EJA Ingleby Cup.
It’s the U16s turn to do battle in the Hertfordshire FA County Cup when they take on Standon & Puckeridge Hares at home at Ickleford Sports & Recreation Club in a 1.PM kickoff.
The U14s have a London FA County Cup quarter final tie away to league rivals Cockfosters EJA and finally, the U13s host Bishops Stortford EJA in the league at The Arena, Baldock with a 2.PM kickoff.
MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE
AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS
The Rushden match was full of contrasts through the game. It started with Rushden dominant in the first 20 minutes and they seemed in total control and very comfortable. Rushden were deservedly 2-0 ahead but we then produced an excellent finish to get back in the game and give ourselves a lifeline. Rushden then could have scored a third but we were saved by MJ’s legs and the first half finished with an excellent save by the Rushden keeper on the stroke of half time.
We made changes at half time and adopted a 4-1-3-2 formation which enabled us to play higher up the park. This caused Rushden all sorts of problems and it was our turn to dominate. We were able to get our noses in front and had other chances to increase our lead. I blame myself for the last few minutes for not insisting on playing in a manner that would see the game through. This was possibly because I was so eager to win the game that we all thought we would be able to score a fourth goal. We did not manage the game in a professional manner and this resulted in Rushden scoring two late, late goals, snatching victory from us.
This coupled with the late goal we conceded at Royston shows the fine margins there are in this league. We were a few minutes away from earning four points over the two games but finished up with none.
We have identified a problem we seem to have when starting matches slowly which has been costly this season and we will be addressing it in future games.
ST IVES TOWN & STRATFORD TOWN
We face two tricky away games starting with St Ives on Saturday. We encountered possibly the best St Ives team we have faced just before Christmas and we know it will be a difficult task, but it is important we get something from the game.
We have not played Stratford yet this season but they are having a successful time and it is again a difficult challenge. Midweek away games are never easy but hopefully we will be looking to build on a good result at St Ives and start to build an unbeaten run.
I have been trying very hard to secure new players to add to the squad and in particular my focus has been on strikers. Unfortunately I have missed out on a number of targets which has not been due to financial reasons but because the players opted to play at a higher level than ourselves. I also tried to bring in a very experienced striker but in the week I tried to sign him he got injured and is now sidelined for at least a month.
The search continues and I will not give up looking to strengthen the squad. I will most definitely not be giving up in the fight for survival.