Wilson's at the double! Mr Carvalho and Lewis strike as the Blues march on!
A Wilson Carvalho wonder strike set the Blues on the road to another home win at the Arden!
Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS, Photographs by GRANTY
Stratford Town v Hitchin Tuesday 15 January, 2019 7.45 pm
EvoStik Premier Division Central
Stratford 2 Hitchin 0
* O, what men dare do!
This was another outstanding performance by Town from an outfit oozing confidence and self-belief. Now lying 5th in the EvoStik Premier Division Central with games in hand a play-off place at the end of the season now looks a distinct possibility. This against a spirited and combative Hitchin team who gave a good account of themselves.
Stratford welcomed Albi Skendi back to the fold, Dan Summerfield was at right wing-back with Kian Williams on the bench. Ross Ethereidge was back between the sticks as Matija Sarkic has returned To his parent club, Aston Villa. Hitchin were to prove dangerous from corners and through their long throw specialist, Alfi Cue. Their shooting from range, and closer, was to prove their undoing as they only occasionally troubled Etheridge and when they did he proved equal to the task.
There was a scare on 5 minutes for Town when, uncharacteristically, Jamie McAteer was robbed in a dangerous position. He was quick to recover and equilibrium restored. On 9 minutes Shariff was nearly through following good work by Grocott and Skendi combined with Fry for the latter to send in Town’s first shot on target. A weak effort easily saved by the keeper.
This was significant because the only other 2 shots resulted in goals. The first was a wonder strike by Wilson Carvalho. The link between Kynan Isaac and Carvalho was to prove potent all evening and here the latter picked up the ball to the left corner of the Hitchin area. Carvalho looked up before smashing home a seering drive that left Michael Johnson clutching thin air. The lead was doubled on 24 minutes when Shariff found Lewis Wilson in acres of space as he advanced on the Hitchin goal. His shot seemed to be heading for a certain save by Johnson but, whether through his legs or under his body, it thumped into the back of the net.
There continued to be chances at both ends but Town was nearly three up on 45 when a typical Skendi run ended with a fierce drive that was beaten to safety.
The second half saw Kian Williams replace Dan Summerfield with Lewis Wilson dropping to right wing-back. The game became stretched and initially it looked likely that Town would be punished. In quick succession Isaac and Skendi were dispossessed in dangerous positions only for Michael Caine to fire high, wide and handsome on both occasions. Ezra Forde also was guilty of wasting a good opportunity with the same lack of control.
Town threatened in turn but after setting up good positions the final shot was just not there. As the game became ragged Town picked up 3 yellows including 1 for dissent. With possible suspensions looming this could prove costly in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, this was another highly creditable result and the club should be proud. Speaking after the game Head of Football, Thomas Baillie, praised fitness levels and determination as he continues to evolve this exciting squad of players.
* O, what men may dare do.. Much Ado about Nothing Act 4 Scene 1
Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS
| Stratford|| Hitchin|
| 7||Goal Attempts|| 21|
| 4||On Target|| 6|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 2|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 0|
| 4||Corners Won|| 10|
| 8||Crosses into Box|| 7|
| 12||Fouls Conceded|| 8|
| 1||Off Side|| 1|
| 3||Yellow Cards|| 1|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – Fry, Isaac & Preston
Hitchin Yellow Cards – Chesmain
Man of the Match: Wilson Carvalho
Saturday 19 January 3.00 pm Needham Market (HOME) EvoStik PDC