St Neots Town FC 6 : 2 Hitchin Town
Match
36
St Neots Town FC 6 : 2
Hitchin Town
Saturday 21 February, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

 

ST NEOTS TOWN       6       HITCHIN TOWN      2

 

For the second time at home this season St Neots hit six goals and that was thanks in the main to Lee Clarke making only his fourth appearance for his side and inspiring them to an important home victory over Hitchin with a hat trick in just 17 minutes in the first half.   He became only the second St Neots player to claim a treble this season after being switched to lead the attack for the first time.   With Nathan Frater and Lorenzo Ferrari both injured, Clarke clearly relished his role and although it was disappointing to concede two goals the overall performance was solid and convincing.   Returning to the club on loan from Luton Town after just three appearances last season Brett Longden was impressive operating wide right and leading scorer Drew Roberts helped himself to two more goals as Hitchin crumbled in the second half.

 

St Neots began strongly and could have scored three times in the first five minutes.   An opportunist volley by Clarke in the first attack was juggled by visiting keeper Charlie Horlock before being cleared and then Clarke set up Lewis Hilliard who shot was pushed away at full stretch by the keeper.   Matt Spring then curled a free kick around the defensive wall beating the keeper but his shot deflected off a post.   However St Neots was not going to be denied for long and after 16 minutes from another Spring free kick Clarke found space at the far post to head home.    He then doubled the lead three minutes later after the unfortunate Horlock hadspilled a shot from Hilliard and from another free kick Bruce Wilson sent a shot over the bar.   Hitchin responded against the run of play when from their first real attack Paul Bastock racing from his line could only parry a cross and Lucas Kirkpatrick reduced the arrears with a skilful chip into the unguarded net.   However the two goal cushion was quickly restored as Clarke at the near post got a flick on a Hilliard cross that had eluded the goalkeeper and despite the best efforts to clear on the line by a defender an eagle eyed Assistant Referee ruled that the ball was over the line and Clarke’s hat trick was completed.   Two minutes before the break St Neots received a wake up call when Matt Lench took full advantage of some hesitant defending to make the score 3-2 after an entertaining first half.

 

If the first half had cheered the local supporters better was to follow as St Neots almost completely dominated the second 45 minutes.   Ten minutes after the restart a cross from the right by Matt Spring eluded the defence and Lewis Hilliard swept a low shot into the net to add to St Neots lead.   Jack Wilkinson did well to block a fierce volley as Hitchin sought to stay in the match but after 68 minutes a fifth St Neots goal all but settled the outcome.   It came from a long throw into the six yards box by Jack Wilkinson and when Horlockfumbled the ball ace poached Drew Roberts was quickly in to take full advantage.   Now Hitchin looked a well beaten side and to add the icing on the cake Roberts added the final goal when left unmarked by the tiring visiting defence.   He bided his time allowing the keeper to come out to narrow the angle before hitting a fierce shot in off the underside of the cross bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Wilkinson, Wilson, Mitchel-King, WardHilliardSpring, Clarke, Roberts, Longden

SubsHarty (for Wilson 65)Bickerstaff (for Hilliard 68), Vieira (for Clarke 83), Hobbs and Frater (R)

Cards:  Clarke (Y – 18)

GoalsLee Clark 3 (16, 19 & 33 mins), Drew Roberts 2 (68 and 80 mins), Lewis Hilliard (55 mins)

 

Hitchin: Horlock, Rolfe, Walster, Ann, Webb, Barker, McNamara, Lench, Martin, Kirkpatrick, Rees

Subs:  Donnelly (for Martin 63), Smith (for Walston 76), Peacock (for Kirkpatrick 76), Williams and Johnson.

Cards:  Webb (Y – 22), Barker (Y – 37)

Goals:  Lucas Kirkpatrick (31 mins), Matt Lench (43 mins)

 

Attendance547

 

RefereePaul Evans (Northampton)

 

John Walker