Hitchin Town make Top Field grade as they thrash Frome

PUBLISHED: 13:49 09 April 2018

Hitchin Town beat Frome Town 5-1. Picture Peter Else

Hitchin Town beat Frome Town 5-1. Picture Peter Else

else.p@ntlworld.com

With Monday’s eagerly-awaited home match with Hereford FC postponed due to the rain Mark Burke’s team remain in tenth place in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier League after beating Frome Town 5-1 in front of 317 fans at Top Field at the weekend.

If ever the Canaries were going to overturn their poor record at home to Frome Town – two defeats and two draws – Saturday was the day.

Frome went into the match on the back of a bad week after the departure of boss Josh Jeffries and senior players.

Their threadbare squad saw acting boss Sam Teale also serving as the only substitute. After resisting until after the half hour, from the moment Trey Charles scored there was only one winner.

Winger Patrick Tshikala and midfielder Charlie Smith were influential as Hitchin started purposefully. The young number 10 created a chance for Connor Vincent that was cleared off the line before linking up with Smith and hitting the underside of the bar within the first ten minutes.

Keeper Carl Crabtree denied Vincent but Matt Spring brought the best out of the keeper who had to palm away a fierce shot, with Ollie Knowles tidying up. Josh Bickerstaff failed to capitalise on a pinpoint Kevin Byrne cross, heading wide when well-placed but the Frome resistance was broken on 36 minutes. It was Tshikala who set up the opener as he drew Crabtree out wide on the left and allowed Charlie Smith to set up Trey Charles for his first goal of 2018.

The floodgates opened on 46 minutes. Connor Roberts, who started the season in Canary colours, turned the ball into his own net and it became one-way traffic.

Frome forced Michael Johnson into a rare save but Hitchin went straight down the other end to increase the lead. Good work again by Tshikala set up Charles for a close range finish on 51 minutes. Seven minutes later Connor Vincent added a fourth when his shot from the edge of the area was fumbled into the net by Crabtree.

Hugo Logan grabbed Hitchin’s fifth as he latched on to Byrne’s pass, skipped into the Frome area, and resisted the temptation to go down for a penalty before slotting home.

Ben Withey’s teasing cross forced Johnson to push the ball away for a corner, while Ryan Bath - who had worked hard all match - nodded wide from a Frome free kick. The Robins did get some stoppage time consolation as Bath set up Josh Brace though the sheen was taken off even that as Ollie Knights then picked up a second yellow card for an innocuous handball.

*There has been good new off the pitch as the club passed its ground grading re-inspection. Safety officer Len Leroux estimates it took 187 hours to complete including his unpaid time, with the overall cost of the work £6,000 – including a donation of £3,000 from the supporters club with the balance coming from the ground regeneration fund.

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