Hitchin Town 4 : 1 St Neots Town FC
Match
11
Hitchin Town 4 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Monday 26 September, 2016 19:45

 

Southern League Premier Division

 

HITCHIN TOWN      4       ST NEOTS TOWN      1      

 

This latest defeat means that St Neots have now gone eight league and cup matches without a win and it is early to be pushing the panic button but an improvement in results is badly required.   Hitchin is seldom a happy hunting ground for the Saints and so it proved on this occasion for they only really competed effectively for the first half hour after which the home side looked completely in control.   Without the suspended Taylor Parr and unavailable James Hall – now to join Parr on suspension – St Neots seemed have few alternative selection options and with Rogan McGeorge and Jonny Hall both injured in this match the immediate prospects do not look promising.   Micky Hyem and Jordan Patrick were restored to the starting line-up for this match with Declan Rogers having to forge a one-man battle with the Hitchin defence up front.   Tactically St Neots must adopt a more positive attacking approach because their defence is under constant pressure and their lack of forward selection options is beginning to weigh heavy.   Even a first goal of the season from skipper Tom Ward was only scant reward from an overall performance that delivered little pleasure for the visiting support.

 

St Neots began well enough with Miles Smith freeing Declan Rogers but his shot was comfortably saved by Michael Johnson and then from a deep cross by Jordan Patrick, Ryan Hawkins’ head was too high.   There was an early departure from the fray by Rogan McGeorge who limped off after nine minutes to be replaced by utility player Tom Wood.  Then in their first real attempt on goal Hitchin were ahead with a well created goal as Brett Donnelly picked out Ben Walster on a surprise overlap and his perfectly weighted cross picked out Matt Lench to open the scoring.   St Neots tried to reply with the hard working Rogers shooting across the face of goal and they levelled the contest after 16 minutes when from a Rogers corner Tom Ward rose imperiously above the defence to head home.   Sadly, that was as good as it got because Hitchin then began to take advantage of their superior possession as the visitors filtered back in defence.  Ironically on a break St Neots might have taken the lead when Walster was alert to clear off the line from Rogers whilst at the other end Archer saved from Robbie Burns and Lench.   Then four minutes before the break Hitchin regained the lead when Will Wright was allowed to run almost unchallenged from the half way line to poke a low shot below the diving Archer.

 

Six minutes after the restart Ryan Hawkins was brought down on the edge of the area affording St Neots a good chance but the free kick was hit into the defensive wall and shortly after Jonny Hall was replaced by inexperienced youngster Jordan Heywood making his first appearance of the season.   After 59 minutes the visitors gifted Hitchin a third goal when a misplaced back pass by Jordan Patrick was seized on by Brett Donnelly who unselfishly set up the unmarked Robbie Burns for a simple tap-in finish.   Brett Donnelly continued to be a thorn in the side of the St Neots defence firing wide from a free kick and then forcing Archer to smother at his feet whilst at the other end St Neots main attacking ploy of high crosses into the Hitchin box was easily countered by home keeper Johnson who dominated in the air.   The fourth goal that cemented the home victory came sixteen minutes from time when Burns won the ball in midfield and sent Lewis McBride wide down the flank and then was in perfect positioning to get in front of Archer to win the cross and score at the near post.   To compound St Neots misery Heywood picked up an unlucky booking when he slipped and fell on the ball to concede a handball offence and they must now regroup for another Saturday off to prepare for their home League Cup fixture next week.

 

 

 

 

 

St Neots:  Archer, Smith, Jon Hall, McGeorge, Ward (T), Ward (C), Hawkins, Clark, Rogers, Hyem, Patrick

 

Subs:  Wood (for McGeorge 9 mins),Heywood (for Hall 56 mins),Spark (for Hyem 70 mins), Hobbs and Mason.

 

Cards:  Hyem (Y – 17), Heywood (Y – 76)

 

 

 

Goals:  Ward (T) (16)

 

 

 

Hitchin:  Johnson, Wright, Walster,Ann, Webb, Rolfe, McBride, Kirkpatrick,Donnelly (B), Burns, Lench

 

Subs:  Donnelly (C) (for Ann 64 mins), Verney (for Donnelly (B) 70 mins), Barnes (for McBride (81 mins), Smith and Pearson.

 

Cards:  Donnelly (B) (Y – 54)

 

 

 

Goals:  Burns 2 (59 & 73), Lench (12), Wright (41)

 

Attendance: 305

 

Referee: Conor Farrell (Aldgate)

 

 

 

John Walker