Hitchin Town 3 : 4 St Neots Town FC
Match
13
Hitchin Town 3 : 4
St Neots Town FC
Monday 06 October, 2014 19:45

Southern League Premier Division

 HITCHIN TOWN  3 - 4  ST NEOTS TOWN       

St Neots moved up to second place in the Southern League Premier Division behind leaders Poole Town with a late victory in a pulsating match at Hitchin to set up a classic showdown with the leaders on Saturday. 

However they left it late with their winning goal arriving in time added for stoppages after the home side had come back twice from being behind. After their weekend victory over Burnham two of St Neots players had not recovered from injury and so Ollie Thorne was included in defence replacing Ryan Frater alongside Gavin Hoyte and Ben Farrell was recalled in midfield for Jay Davies.  

Hitchin was unbeaten at home prior to this match and they produced a thrilling counter attacking performance that rocked St Neots back on their heels but Gary King’s side showed character and determination especially after losing full back Arthur Lee with a second half serious ankle injury that saw him stretchered from the field for a hospital x-ray.

After two minutes Jamie Greygoose in the St Neots goal got down well to save from a close range effort from Callum Donnelly and within sixty seconds at the other end St Neots were ahead as Drew Roberts won the ball on the right and crossed for Nathan Frater to crash the ball in off the underside of the crossbar. 

It was now game on as Hitchin came back and after 19 minutes a long ball over the defence left St Neots vainly appealing for offside as Brett Donnelly went between the centre backs to level for Hitchin.  

A minute later Hitchin could have been in front but for a great save by Greygoose from Callum Donnelly.

The breakneck pace of the match continued and after 29 minutes from a Matt Spring corner Ollie Thorne beat home keeper Tahj Bell to the ball to head St Neots back in front. This time the advantage lasted just two minutes as Jonny McNamara cut in from the left and his cross was netted at the far post by Matt Lench to level the scores at 2-2.  

Hitchin now looked the stronger and Brett Donnelly squandered a free header and Lench brought an outstanding full length save from Greygoose.

Then five minutes before the break the home side went ahead as former St Neots defender Alasan Ann forced in at the far post from a Callum Donnelly left wing cross following a corner.

The relentless pace did drop slightly after the restart. Both teams adopted a stronger hold in midfield and chances on goal were less. St Neots sent on Ben Ford for Ben Farrell and Matt Nolan for Nathan Frater and were then forced into an early third substitution as Arthur Lee was stretchered off with that ankle injury sustained in an accidental collision.  

That seemed to galvanise St Neots and if Hitchin had marginally looked the better side before the break the balance now changed. Both Lewis Hilliard and Matt York brought excellent saves from Bell whilst in a Hitchin breakaway Greygoose had to leave his line to save at the feet of Lench.  

Then with five minutes remaining St Neots got back into the contest as skipper Gavin Hoyte accurately picked out Hilliard on the right and his early cross found Drew Roberts at the far post and his finish was accurate to level the scores.That might have resulted in an honourable draw for both sides but there was more to come as first St Neots and then Hitchin went on the offensive.  

Two minutes into time added Roberts in full flight was brought down and Matt Spring’s resultant free kick was headed down by Matt Nolan to put St Neots ahead with Lewis Hilliard following the ball into the net.  

That signalled a determined

finish by Hitchin in the remainder of eight minutes added time in which two St Neots players picked up yellow cards – Nolan for alleged deliberate time wasting as St Neots hung on for their first ever victory at Hitchin.

 

St Neots: Greygoose, York, Lee, Wilson, Thorne, Hoyte, Farrell, Spring, Frater (N), Roberts, Hilliard

Subs: Ford (for Farrell 56 mins), Nolan (for Frater (N) 65 mins), Ferrari (for Lee 71 mins), Peacock and Frater (R).

Cards: York (Y - 90), Nolan (Y – 90 + 6)

Goals: Frater (N) (3 mins), Thorne (29 mins), Roberts (85 mins), Nolan (90 + 2 mins)

 

Hitchin:  Bell, Rolfe, Corran, Ann, Chabata, Barker, McNamara, Donnelly (C), Donnelly (B), Burns, Lench

Subs: Walster, Powell, Osei-Sisibour, Noone and Johnson.

Cards: Donnelly (C) (Y – 78 )

Goals: Donnelly (B) (19 mins), Lench (31 mins), Ann (41 mins)

Attendance: 291

Referee: James Whittaker (Harlow)

John Walker