This was a game of three thirds – yes, three half hour segments of a game involving a good mix of first team regulars and fringe players – and it was a fine idea. It brought a curtain down on the (temporary) return to normality as we approach another lockdown – and a serious disruption to our season.
What transpired was an intriguing game where the Greens, who had been under the cosh in the first period and much of the second, staged a magnificent comeback. They had trailed by three goals and then pulled one back, only to have another disallowed as they mounted pressure on Yellows. It was a treat to see Timmy Samuel – Alase who was fearless in attack and a veritable box of tricks.
The Yellows soon contained the ebullient Green moves to take a ninth minute lead with Luke Brown finishing off a good move from close range. Alex Marsh had been instrumental in forward moves for Yellows, as had Max Ryan. For Greens, it was good to see Rio Dasilva working hard and his shot needed a good save from Charlie Horlock who ended up having a good work out tonight.
Not initially on the team sheet for Greens, Brett Donnelly played two thirds and demonstrated that he can still read the game well. Zidane Gourgel- Sequira also had a lively game, his free kick being held by Horlock. Yellows were getting on top and indeed they went ahead after seventeen minutes with a goal from Ishmael Lukelo. Max Ryan’s shot was saved by Dan Weaver and Brown’s next effort struck the side netting. There was plenty of relaxed and not so relaxed football to watch, with the players keen to make a decent contest of it all.
Yellows pressed again with two successive corners and at the other end there was some fancy footwork from Gourgel-Sequira before he had his pockets picked, but he won a free-kick just outside the area, which went straight against the defensive wall. Jack Green, now apparently fighting fit, demonstrated this with a typical run but his lofted shot perhaps suggest a more measured approach.
The third goal for Yellows came after a defensive howler, when Samuel -Alase, who atoned for this later, lost possession and Steve Cawley was able to maximise the error with a slick goal. Cawley’s incisive passing and deft flicks were good to see in this game. An angled shot from Marsh saw Weaver save well and a fourth goal for Yellows was ruled off-side, despite Ishmael harpooning the ball into the net.
Ollie Reagan fired wide for Greens and Dasilva began to exhibit his fine ball control and persistence in attacking moves. After Cawley had another shot saved Greens pulled a goal back after fifty-four minutes, scored by Gourgel-Sequira. There was some fancy footwork from Yellows’ Bunja Conteh but his cross found no colleague.
A Donnelly pass saw Dasilva just miss the target and Samuel-Alase fumbled his decent chance. Lewis Barker also came close as Greens hit the post – and they began to exert some real pressure on the Yellows, with Horlock showing much of his versatile repertoire. Greens had a goal ruled out for off-side but they certainly deserved another goal for the splendid way they maintained a series of attacks with Samuel -Alase being outstanding.
There were some good defensive touches from Harley Sule, for the Yellows and some excellent forward moves from Luca Cardines for the Greens. The Yellows counter-attacked when they could and Cawley might well have grabbed a fourth for the Yellows late in the game.
It was notable that at three-one down, how well the Greens strived to lessen the deficit in what was an enjoyable game and a good romp for the players who probably enjoyed playing a match rather than just training and it gave manager Mark Burke a fair insight into the capabilities of players he might be tempted to include.
In many ways it was a pity that only 64 spectators turned out to see this – but it was a particularly cold night. All players involved gave it a proper level of seriousness and it was amusing to see the Yellows dancing in glee afterwards and singing ‘Champion -es’. It was a definite boost to morale as we enter the Lockdown – even if we are uncertain if it will be extended. It was a rare occasion to see a game like this staged but credit goes to all players for their entering the spirit of it all – and for the entire game.
HITCHIN TOWN YELLOWS
Charlie Horlock, Max Ryan, Jonas Kalanda, Kye Tearle, Dan Sears, Harley Sule, Alex Marsh, Bunja Conteh, Steve Cawley, GOAL 40 MINUTES, Luke Brown, GOAL, 9 MINUTES, Ishmael Lukelo, GOAL, 17 MINUTES.
Managers – Mark Burke and Adam Parker.
HITCHIN TOWN GREENS
Dan Weaver, Jack Green, Ben Walster, Ollie Regan, Sam Okoye-Ahaneku, Josh Caldicott-Stevens, Rio Dasilva, Lewis Barker, Zidane Gourgel-Sequira, GOAL 54 MINUTES, Luca Cardines, Timmy Samuel-Alase.
Managers – Brett Donnelly and Josh Bickerstaff.
REFEREE: Mr Suresh Pulanderen.