FIXTURES
Saturday 19 January home to Stourbridge league – kick off 3:00pm
Wednesday 23 January home to kings Lynn League – kick off 7:45pm

PLAYER NEWS

  • Matt Nolan is available for the Stourbridge game
  • Jay Dowie and Lewis Ferrell should be fit for the Stourbridge game after picking up knocks at Stratford
  • Michael Cain will miss the Stourbridge game through injury
  • Unfortunately Robbie Burns requires an operation and will be out for the rest of the season

HITCHIN TOWN LADIES FC
Report from Callum Ellis on the Ladies game with Bedford Ladies Development:

New Year and the first game of 2019! Today’s opposition was Bedford Ladies Development. We played against them back in November and we ran out 2-1 winners but they are a strong team. The wind had picked up and Hitchin started the game against the wind! Previous matches playing against the wind never favoured Hitchin well!

The game started well and Hitchin won a corner deep into the Bedford half. A floated ball into the box from Huffer was quickly collected by the Bedford keeper.

Bedford responded well and were attacking down the right. Winter swept across to deny them entry and saw the ball trickle out for a goal kick.

Huffer sent another dangerous ball into the box, it reached Wilfort who pulled it to Gash who shot just wide. Both teams were having equal possession but Bedford were not using the wind to their advantage.

A throw from Piper reached Fursland. She switched the play across to Cain-Murnane who shot over the crossbar. Hitchin put Bedford under pressure again and it was Cain-Murnane who linked up with Gash who played the ball into the box and it was shot just wide.

Things started to heat up and the opposition number 2 committed some late challenges. A number of times she could of walked but the referee opted for a quiet word. Questionable but respect was shown and our ladies continued to play their football.

The whistle was blown for half time and it was Hitchin who were coming off positive knowing they worked against the strong wind. Bedford came off rattled knowing their game plan wasn’t working.

Fursland made way for Hawkridge and got stuck into the action holding her ground on the left. Hitchin were having the upper hand and won a corner. Chaffey sent the ball in but no one could get their head to it. The wind was now almost non existent and allowed Hitchin to play their football. Watson made way for Evans and her first touch was straight in the face!

Wilfort saw an opportunity down the left, linked with Gash, who fed it to Chaffey who shot just past the post. Frustrating but it was coming!

GOAL, Hitchin! Chaffey sent the ball in from the corner, found Gash who stopped the ball dead and it was Winter who slammed the ball into the corner of the net.

GOAL, Hitchin! Gash is sent through on goal and is swiped out in the box! PENALTY! Chaffey calmly stepped up and fired the penalty kick into the net!

GOAL, Hitchin! Smith gets trampled on and wins a free kick on the edge of the box. Chaffey stepped up, and fired over wall and into the far corner!

Bedford were frustrated and the tackling just proved it. The final whistle went after Thompson was bundled over in ther box for picking the ball up!

A professional display from Hitchin bagged the three points and a clean sheet. Nothing but praise from everyone who wore their shirt today! Each player put a shift in, respected, enjoyed their game but most of all played as a team. I have nothing but praise for the ladies. Knowing each game is a cup final the final run into the last stages of the season will be exciting.

We go again Sunday 20th January 2018, we are at Offley Recreation Ground, against Evergreen Eagles First. 14:00 kick and hope to see you there! Get behind your local ladies team!

HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The academy team were beaten 4-0 by Brentford on Wednesday. They are at home to Boreham Wood on Wednesday 23 January at the Arena kick off 2.00pm.

EJA TEAM NEWS
Here is the latest news from Nick Carr:

Our U18 EJA team had a terrific 7-1 away win on Sunday at Woodbridge Town in the EJA Ingilby Cup. Shaun Dowler opened his account for the season with a breakaway goal to put our boys 1 – 0 up with Josh Adams adding a second shortly after, before Woodbridge Town cut the lead to 2-1. Steve Obeng restored our two goal advantage just before half time to send us in with a 3-1 lead at the break. Second half goals from Shaun Dowler, Josh Adams, Tommy Reynolds and Ant Nygro completed the rout.

Our U14s suffered the heartbreak of defeat on penalties to Cockfosters EJA in the quarter-final of the London FA U14 Challenge Cup. The score was 0-0 at the end of normal time which meant the two teams had to battle out an additional 10 minutes of extra time. Cockfosters took the lead four minutes in when a high cross hung in the wind and despite goalkeeper Jovan Thiara’s attempts to tip the ball over the bar, it bounced off the top of the bar and straight onto the head of a Cockfosters forward and over the line. Hitchin poured on the pressure in the last five minutes and got their just rewards when Lavel Davis-Thomas was upended in the penalty area when through 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper. Lavel got up to tuck away the resultant penalty and take the game to penalties. Cockfosters scored their first four penalties whilst our boys were successful with only two of ours therefore, handing the tie to Cockfosters.

Our U16s were knocked out of the Hertfordshire County Cup by Standon & Puckeridge Hares, going down 2-1 at home.

Our U13s fared no better in their game at home to Bishops Stortford in the EJA league, suffering a 3-1 defeat.

This weekend sees the U18s away at Letchworth Garden City Eagles in the Hertfordshire FA County Cup with a 10:00 AM kickoff

The U16s are away at Glebe Youth Kent U16 in the London FA Challenge Cup.

The U14s and U13s have no games this weekend.

WOMEN AT THE GAME
A message from Kate Deller:

“We will be celebrating this year’s International Womens Day on the 2nd March at our home game with Rushall Olympic. As always we are also supporting the “Women at the Game” movement. International Womens Day 2019 is going all out this year to help promote a more Gender Balanced World and bearing this in mind, are making our day inclusive to ALL. Entrance to all supporters will be “pay what you want”. We would like to see families fill Top Field to support the Canaries and enjoy Women at the Game inclusively. There will be a free raffle to the women attending but there will also be cakes for all attendees male and female by way of a thank you for celebrating #BalanceForBetter. We would appreciate any donations of cakes on the day, so if anyone would like to bake some cakes please contact Kate Deller at kate.deller@hitchintownfc.club or 07966 366664. I look forward to hearing from both genders and all ages!”

NORTH HERTS FM
North Herts FM will be providing commentaries on our games with Stourbridge on Saturday and Kings Lynn on Wednesday. They also hope to cover the home game with Tamworth on 2 February and the away game at Barwell on 16 February.

There will be a new commentator on Saturday. His name is Rob Lamarr who is a Channel 5 presenter of Super Casino and who has experience in sports commentating.

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

ST IVES
Before the game with St Ives we detailed individual players with how we wanted to play and in the first half they seemed to take the information on board. While St Ives had the majority of the possession in the first 20 minutes we defended well. We were also dangerous on the counter attack and scored a good goal and missed other chances to increase the lead. It was not a pretty first half but I was pleased we were ahead.

Immediately after half time we did not defend properly which led to a corner being conceded and we then failed to carry out basic defensive duties and left a St Ives player with all the freedom in the world to score. This combined with St Ives getting on the front foot and taking the game to us knocked our confidence. I then had to witness a repeat of the first goal when again the St Ives player was totally unmarked and scored a free header from a corner.

So we conceded two very poor and basic goals and I was not impressed with the reaction of our players and we became very one dimensional. At the end of the game I felt we had reached rock bottom.

STRATFORD
On Tuesday we travelled to in form Stratford. We told the players that the second half at St Ives was unacceptable and the minimum requirement was 100% effort. We also said that we needed to be vocal through the ninety minutes, to play with energy and do the basics right and not give up at any stage of the game. I thought we started the game brightly and I was happy with the reaction from the players.

Stratford scored a very good goal which was followed by an unfortunate error which led to a second goal. However we continued to battle and the players showed a lot of character not to crumble after the second goal went in.

We had our chances in the second half but as has been the case too often this season we did not take them. We have to take solace from the performance if not the result and make sure we show the same attitude and application on Saturday.

STOURBRIDGE AND KINGS LYNN
With our next two matches things certainly do not get any easier. Going in to them on the back of seven straight defeats is not ideal but I can assure our supporters that we will be working as hard as we can to gain points from both matches. Both Stourbridge and Kings Lynn are having excellent seasons and I am sure both clubs will make the play-offs and I would not be surprised if one of them won the league. Whilst it will be difficult it is important we stop the rot.

Over the past few weeks I have attempted to sign a number of strikers either permanently or on loan. I have come very close on a number of occasions but frustratingly unlike a number of years ago when clubs could agree a deal there is now a third party involved, namely the player’s agent and I am going to have to accept their position in the game and factor in their influence.

ROY IZZARD