Hitchin Town round-up: Mark Burke’s managerial notes and all your latest Top Field news

PUBLISHED: 15:08 23 February 2018

Top Field, home of Hitchin Town FC. Credit @laythy29

Top Field, home of Hitchin Town FC. Credit @laythy29

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For the latest news on Hitchin Town including Mark Burke’s manager’s notes read CometSport’s extensive round-up...

MANAGER’S NOTES WITH MARK BURKE

GOSPORT BOROUGH

We started brightly and took a deserved lead but credit to Gosport who are much improved on the team we played earlier in the season. They equalised soon after through a goal that I thought should have been disallowed. Kav Cotter was fouled which led to him diverting the ball to the striker who scored which was very unfortunate for us.

We were then denied what I thought was a clear penalty and had it been given and we had scored the course of the game would have been changed. However the penalty was not given and Gosport started the second half well. We were not as good in the second half and the game became a tight affair. We had a little bit of fortune to score our second goal and also had a slice of luck when Gosport should have scored at the death. But overall I felt we shaded the game and deserved to claim our first league win of 2018.

HAYES AND YEADING

I opted for an experienced line up on Monday and I felt our first half performance was reminiscent of previous seasons. We worked very hard and played a good pressing game and we were the dominant force in the first 45 minutes.

The second half saw Hayes change their formation and they began to cause us problems. The free kick from which they scored the opening goal seemed very harsh but I was not pleased with the defending as the header was unchallenged.

But I have to credit the players who did not let their heads drop and battled away to get the equaliser and enable the game to go to penalties. I thought all four penalty takers produced quality strikes and Michael Johnson once again came up trumps and made two fine saves.

We now have a second cup final to look forward to and I consider the BigFreeBet.Com Cup to be the second most prestigious competition we have a realistic chance of winning.

BASINGSTOKE

Basingstoke have an excellent home record and are very potent in front of goal. They are a young side that likes to play football so I expect it to be an entertaining game

STRATFORD

Earlier in the season St Ives played Frome ahead of us playing those two teams in consecutive fixtures which were both won. Basingstoke beat Stratford on Tuesday and we now play these teams in consecutive fixtures and it would be good if we could repeat the double victories.

Stratford also have a good home record but we will go there looking for our first victory at their ground. I am targeting a top ten finish in the league.

LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY EAGLES 1-1 HITCHIN TOWN

Hitchin won the Vince Paige Cup on Thursday night, winning 3-1 on penalties after the game was drawn 1-1.

PLAYER NEWS

Josh Bickerstaff is struggling to be fit for the Basingstoke game.

Elliott Bailey played the last 15 minutes at Letchworth on Thursday.

Daniel Olaniran has signed having secured international clearance. His previous club was Peachtree City Moba in America. He is a defender.

Congratulations to Kieran Barnes who scored a hat-trick for Stotfold last Saturday.

FIXTURES

Saturday 24 February, away to Basingstoke league, kick off 3.00pm. Coach leaves at 10.30am.

Tuesday, 27 February, away to Stratford league, kick off 7.45pm. Coach leaves at 3.45pm.

The home league game with Slough has been moved to Monday, 16 April kick off 7.45pm.

The date for the Herts Charity Cup final with Hemel Hempstead will be Tuesday, 10 April at Bishops Stortford kick off 7.45pm.

HITCHIN TOWN UNDER19s

The academy team beat London Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday. They are at home to Wealdstone on Friday, 23 February kick off 1.30pm at the Arena and on Wednesday, 28 February are away to Metropolitan Police, kick off at 2pm.

GROUNDSTAFF/VOLUNTEERS

Once again many thanks to the helpers who ensured that Monday’s game with Hayes and Yeading went ahead.

QUIZ NIGHT

Support the clubs Quiz Night at Ickleford Cricket Club on Friday, 23 February. It starts at 7.30pm and entrance is £5 per head and teams can have a maximum six members. All profits go to the Top Field regeneration fund. Please contact Mick Docking on 07954 376132 for further details.

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