Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Photos by WOODY & GRANTY
Saturday 28 September 2019 3.00 pm BetVictor SLPDC at the Top Field stadium
Hitchin Town 2 Stratford Town 0 (HT 1-0)
• For I am nothing if not critical.
This was a game distinctly lacking in, ‘joie de vivre, elan, éclat ou je ne sais quoi.’ Excuse my French! This fixture gave a wonderful opportunity for Town to return to winning ways with Hitchin just one place off the bottom of the league and without a BetVictor victory this season. Despite some good individual play from the Town boys it was the better-organised and determined Canary outfit that carried the day.
With Ball, Dovey, Gyasi, Lawton and Morrison now having left the club following Town’s exit from the FA Cup it was time to welcome Kaire Edwards-John to a unfamiliar looking Town eleven. The back line read Wilson, debutant Heaven, Vann and the returning Hancocks. Edwards-John was on the left of an attacking trio with Wreh and Revan. Oulton, Curtis and Rowe formed the midfield axis.
Stratford made the worst of starts. Barely a minute had elapsed when Hitchin won a corner on the right. Hitchin’s man of the match, Ben Walster, swung the ball in, there was a brief melee before referee, Bloxham, pointed to the spot. A pushing offence it seemed with the Official pointing the finger of blame at Oulton. Although Taylor saved the penalty from Cawley the striker was sharp enough to put away the rebound.
Just 5 minutes later and Taylor playing out from the back laid his pass straight to Hitchin striker Thake. The boys in blue were grateful that Canary front man could only shoot tamely at straight at Taylor on return.
After this initial trauma Town grew in confidence and bossed possession. I failed to record a single further strike on goal for the home side in the whole first half. Playing out confidently from the back through Heaven, Vann and Hancocks, Revan and Edwards threatened the Hitchin defence. Dangerous crosses from both flanks found Town wanting for a finish in the middle. Town’s best two efforts fell to Edwards. On 26 minutes he wormed his way from the left and keeper, Horlock, saved bravely at his feet. On 38 minutes Oulton and Revan combined to set up Edwards again. His fierce drive was turned over the bar by Horlock.
With Oulton struggling with an injury he was replaced on 55 minutes by Glover and the fizz and heart seemed to go out of the Town effort. Early on in the half Edwards crossed to Curtis whose brave near-post lunge saw the ball spin agonisingly wide of the far post. That proved to be the last serious assault on the Hitchin goal. With Hitchin offering even less it was the home side that still wrapped up the game and the points on 74 minutes. Corner right; Walster; bullet header Webb; simple! So two corners, two goals separated the teams at the death. ‘Une petite mort peut etre?’ Let’s hope so.
• For I am nothing if not critical. Othello Act 2 Scene 1
Saturday 05 October 3.00pm Leiston (H)