FIXTURES
Saturday 20 April away to Redditch League kick off 3pm – Coach leaves at 10:30am.
Monday 22 April home to Royston league kick off 3pm.

HERTS CHARITY CUP FINAL
The final of the Herts Charity Cup against Hemel Hempstead will be played at Top Field on Tuesday 30 April kick off 7:45pm. Arrangements are still being discussed by the Herts FA but it seems likely our normal admission prices will be used and online tickets will be available. This will be confirmed as soon as possible.

SICKNESS BUG
There was a sickness bug that caused problems on Saturday. Manager Mark Burke was able to name the team before forced to go home to bed before the kick off.

Jack Thomas and Al-Amin Kazeem also had to pull out of the squad with the same bug and this left us with just three substitutes.

PLAYER NEWS

  • Michael Cain is in Thailand and will not be available for the remaining games.
  • Max Ryan returns to the squad for the Redditch game.
  • Josh Bickerstaff will return for the final league game at Banbury.
  • Alex Anderson faces a fitness test before the Redditch game.
  • Matt Nolan is not available for the Redditch game.
  • Jack Thomas and Al-Amin Kazeem return to the squad.

IMPROVEMENTS UPDATE
The social club roof should be finalised next week.

NORTH HERTS FM
North Herts FM will be back at Top Field on Easter Bank Holiday Monday 22 April 2019 to bring you live commentary of the Evostik Southern Premier League Central fixture between Hitchin Town FC and Royston Town FC, the Canaries last home game of the 2018-19 season.

The North Herts FM Commentary Team will be your hosts bringing you full, live commentary of Monday’s game with the programme starting at 2:45pm.

We are on the ‘North Herts FM Extra’ channel on the North Herts FM website or you can use the direct link to the ‘North Herts FM Extra’ channel, by clicking here.

THE COMET
I have asked Pipeman to send a more concise report of our games to the Comet as requested by their sports editor and it was great to see that this week it led to a report appearing in the sports pages. Big

HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The academy side are away to Kings Langley on Wednesday 24 April kick off 2pm.

HITCHIN TOWN LADIES REPORT
It was Top field that played host to what was the Division Two title of the Beds & Herts Women’s League. Hitchin Town Ladies FC v Hitchin Belles a local derby but today meant more. If the Belles got a point or more they would win the title and if Hitchin Town Ladies were to win and win their remaining two games it would go down to goal difference on Sunday 5th May 2019. The sun was shining and North Herts FM listeners were all tuned in to hear what was truly going to be great game of football.
The teams were led out and it was club captain Emma Chaffey making her 80th appearance for the ladies. Hitchin Town Ladies wearing their kit for next season which was sponsored by Soul Shack. A thank you for your second season of consecutive sponsorship.

It all started within the first three minutes of the game were it was end to end but both chances wasted by either teams. Cain-Murnane wins a free kick in the middle of the pitch and the ball was sent forward but no one can connect and both teams getting caught up in the moment and failing to settle.
The Belles had two quick chances on the Ladies goal but the tight line of the Hitchin Ladies defence kept the second shot out. The Belles started to gain the upper and a wild shot from 30 yards out trickles out for a goal kick.

Chance for Hitchin Town Ladies when Gash makes a run past the initial Belles defender but a quick cover from the partnering centre back shielded the ball out of ball for a goal kick. Hitchin responded well and Watson who was making her 51st appearance today plays the ball over to Gash but the flag is up for offside. The ladies pushing on again but this time it was Gash playing the ball to Franklin on the right who sends the ball into Chaffey and a 50/50 challenge sees a free kick given for a foul on the Belles keeper.

Cain-Murnane looks up and sees the keeper off her line and takes a 40 yard hit. The shot glances just past the post. The ladies win a corner and Chaffey sends the ball into Gash whose shot just goes past the post. The ladies win another corner and Chaffey delivers the ball into the box but its sliced away out for a ladies throw.

The last kick of the game came from the Belles and the shot went through a defenders leg but Thompson calmly collects. The referee blows for half time.

The Belles started positively and win a free kick on the edge of the box. A shot that bounced in front of Thompson was calmly collect and rushed for a Hitchin Town counter. Piper wins a free kick and sends the ball over the Belles defence and its Gash again with a half volley hitting the upright behind the goal.

The pressure was truly on the Belles when the Ladies won a corner. Chaffey sends the ball in and a scramble in the goal finds Winter’s toe and it creeps over the bar.

Chance again for Cain-Murnane who sees the opportunity from 30 yards out and her shot dips but not enough and it’s sat on the roof of the net.

The Belles did come back at the ladies on the hour from a corner which Piper sends into the stands for a clearance and then another corner from the Belles opportunity goes wide.
The ladies win a free kick 20 yards out and Chaffey steps up and the Belles keeper comes out to claim and luckily for her it goes out for a goal kick. Another free kick is sent in by Chaffey and the keeper clears for a Belles counter but the chance is wasted.

Hitchin Belles had the opportunity to wrap the day up when a cross across the goal is missed by G. Smith at the back post and sends it wide.

The referee blew the whistle for full time and the Belles got the point they needed to secure the title of Division Two.

I couldn’t describe how I felt after the final whistle. Mixed emotions of proud and gutted. We had the best first half of the season and lead the division into the New Year. With many league games postponed due to weather it gave Hitchin Belles and others to catch up on games and points. The Belles didn’t waste their chance and took over the top. From then on it was down to the two Hitchin teams. Both teams having results keeping on the pressure on each other which was going to make the end of the season thrilling for all. I wasn’t overly happy about the result today but to see my team work together and be consistent from start to finish and not give up till the final whistle I am proud to be their manager.

Thank you to Dowds! This year we were given new jumpers from them and we are ever so grateful! I also wish to thank North Herts FM for coming and commentating their first ever women’s fixture! I hope there is more to come! I also wish to thank Hitchin Town FC and their staff for letting us use Top Field to play our last home game. Everything was set out for our arrival and the small things really do matter. We are proud to be associated with Hitchin Town FC. Sunday was an incredible advert for women’s football and it was made easier by our committee and Hitchin Town FC executives. I would also like to thank the fans for attending!

Our fight continues and its against local rivals Letchworth Garden City Eagles. They need three points to finish runners up and we need to secure a point. We are gunning for 6 points in our last two games. We will fight till the end. Sunday 28th April 2019 14:00 kick off and it is at the Letchworth Eagles game.

Squad:
N. Thompson, G. Winter, A. Piper, L. Huffer, J. Hawkridge, H. Watson, B. Day, M. Cain-Murnane, M. Franklin, E. Chaffey, L. Gash, R. Wilfort, K. Simon, L. Wyatt.

EJA TEAM NEWS
The match of the day for our EJA teams on Sunday was the U14 Challenge Cup final where our boys took on Concord Rangers, the current U14 Blue Division Champions.

With injuries ruling out a number of players the squad was reduced to just 10 outfield players and two goalkeepers available. Despite this, the boys more than matched their opponents and were unlucky to lose 2-1 after leading 1-0 at half time through a Ryan Samupita goal. The damage was done in four second half minutes as Concord Rangers raced into a 2-1 lead before our boys had settled back into the game. Despite this, Hitchin produced enough chances to have equalised and gone on to win the game. As disappointing as it was to lose, the boys can be immensely proud of their performance on the day.

In other games, our U16s went down 5-1 to Yellow Division Champions Ware FC whilst our U13s finished their first season in the EJA with a 3-2 win away at close rivals Biggleswade Town. They are now looking towards next season and building a squad that can challenge for honours. Any boys interested in joining should get in touch by email to ejasecretary@hitchintownyouth.co.uk.

This week our U18s are the only team in action when they take on Barton Rovers in a league fixture at the County Ground in Letchworth, 11am kickoff.

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH ADAM PARKER AND MARK BURKE

LOWESTOFT

Mark missed the Lowestoft game through a sickness bug so Adam Parker took charge. These were his thoughts:

The first ten minutes were even but we then conceded two goals that could have been avoided. You cannot legislate for players making mistakes for goals and it has happened too often. We then had a good spell and Charlie Thake pulled a goal back.

Alex Anderson had to come off at half time so I had to make changes to our shape. We were playing a 3-2-3-2 formation which was an attacking system and we created chances before we were caught out by a counter attack that gave Lowestoft a third goal. Lowestoft had plenty to play for and virtually guaranteed their safety with the win.

I can assure our supporters that the players are putting the effort in , both in games and training. But there is no getting away from the fact that too many players are showing inconsistent form and this has undermined our season.

REDDITCH AND ROYSTON
Mark told me he was pleased the Herts Charity Cup final has been arranged for Tuesday 30 April as it will focus the players on their performances as places in the team for the final are up for grabs. There is also pride to play for and Mark is determined we end the league season well. He wants to keep our position above Redditch while there is local pride at stake when we play Royston on Monday.

BY ROY IZZARD