Match Report, Stats and Photographs Hitchin Town 4 v 0 Stratford Town
Town suffer FA Cup hangover at Hitchin
Reporter Kevin Hand, Photographs Granty, Stats Rod Abrahams
Match Report: Hitchin Town v Stratford Saturday 10 October 3.00pm Evo-Stik Southern Premier League
Hitchin 4 Stratford 0 (2-0) half time
You somehow felt this was always going to be a difficult game for Town following the heroics of the weekend and Tuesday in the Emirates FA Cup. The mood was subdued on the coach going to the game and the last ‘party balloons’ were well and truly burst well before 90 minutes were up.
The statistics sum it up – just 3 shots for Town in 90 minutes and not one on target. Hitchin’s keeper, Michael Johnson, can never have had an easier game.
Town lined up with Hancocks replacing the unavailable Thomas and Evans replacing the injured Summerfield.. The opening exchanges were dull with nothing to report after 10 minutes. It was then that Hitchin began to dominate play. The lively McNamara broke down the left and Donnelly’s shot was deflected for a corner. Jack Green then made significant progress towards the Town goal before a wild miskick brought relief.
Town’s sole response was a half-hearted penalty appeal when Stephens fed Luckie in the Hitchin area and the ever-willing Town striker went down under a clumsy challenge. That was 16 minutes and 2 minutes later Town went a goal down when the veteran Brett Donnelly powered in the simplest of headers from a right wing cross.
From then on it was one-way traffic with the forwards of Town unable to hang on to the ball and the mid-field out-muscled, out-thought and over run. The inevitable second goal followed in the 33rd minute when Brett Donnelly turned Recci far too easily and fired home from the edge of the area.
There was more of the same in the second half. Almost immediately Donnelly sprinted clear of the Town defence and saw his shot turned onto the bar by Connor before a scrambled clearance averted the danger. Jonny McNamara continued to torment the Town defence and it seemed ‘blessed relief’ when he was substituted on 73 minutes. By this time Eli Bako had replaced Stephens and Taylor had replaced Fry. But there was a new tormentor in the wings and on the wing.
Trey Charles caused havoc down the right, first ‘skinning’ Bako, before bearing down on goal and Charles’s cross shot was scrambled home by Connor Vincent from close range. Charles then turned his attention to Hancocks who was ‘yellow carded’ for pulling back before Charles left the whole Town defence in his wake, knocking in a rebound after Connor failed to hold his first shot.
Town now has a run of home fixtures including next Saturday 14 October when a win against Dunstable is surely a priority. Disheartening as the performance was, it has to be seen in the context that just 7 days earlier we were within 2 minutes of making the 4th provisional round of the FA Cup. We were history boys then and one bad result doesn’t make this a poor team. Injuries, suspensions and non-availability has hampered our progress but there’ll be more to come from a talented squad under a visionary manager.
Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
| Town|| Hitchin|
| 3||Goal Attempts|| 8|
| 0||On Target|| 6|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 1|
| 2||Corners Won|| 3|
| 10||Crosses into Box|| 7|
| 9||Fouls Conceded|| 9|
| 2||Off Side|| 0|
| 1||Yellow Cards|| 0|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
|Town Yellow Cards – Hancocks|
|Hitchin Yellow Cards – None|