Banbury Town 1-0 Hitchin Town

PUBLISHED: 17:05 08 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 08 January 2018

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

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

Archant

Hitchin Town lost 1-0 away to Banbury on Saturday through a second half goal by jack Self for the home side despite dominating for long spells.

This was a game where Hitchin played well in the first half and should have been ahead. The second half saw a sloppy start and despite a man advantage after substitute Leon Howards was sent off Hitchin did not produce enough as they huffed and puffed without troubling the Banbury keeper.

Other results meant the defeat was not as damaging as it might have been in the race for the play-offs but manager Mark Burke will know there is little margin for error if Hitchin are to make the top five.

There were two changes from last Saturday with the injured Connor Vincent and unavailable Charlie Smith replaced by Brett Donnelly and Elliot Bailey while Robbie Burns was named among the substitutes.

Hitchin made a good positive start and dominated the opening quarter of the game. Jay Dowie shot over the bar after a Donnelly lay off before Trey Charles did not produce a good finish after a promising run. Charles then hit the bar with a cross cum shot while McNamara shot weakly after 21 minutes. Banbury produced their first dangerous moment when Tom Winters hit the bar after the referee chose not to give a foul on Kavan Cotter before Bailey put a shot wide soon after.

Michael Johnson was quickly off his line to close down Elliot Sandy who shot wide before McNamara produced a dangerous cross-cum shot evaded everyone in the box before half-time.

Burke’s Canaries should have made more of their superiority in the first 45 minutes but they failed to reproduce the clinical finishing in evidence against Kings Langley.

The second period saw Banbury introduce Leam Howards on the left hand side and he made an immediate impact.

After just two minutes he made a good run and put in a good cross, finished by Jack Self.

Keeper Johnson pulled off good saves from Conor McDonagh and Howards. Burke then replaced Donnelly with Burns after an hour with Bailey going up top with Burns playing in midfield.

After 70 minutes Howards was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Dowie and this gave Hitchin a boost but despite increased pressure the equaliser would not come.

Ben Walster replaced the injured Toby Syme and Josh Coley came on for Charles as Hitchin pushed forward. Josh Bickerstaff sent an excellent ball across the box but the finishing touch was not applied. Bailey shot over the bar after good work from McNamara.

In injury time keeper Jack Harding did well to save from a deflection off one of his defenders.

In the last minute of the game Dowie put his shot too high as Banbury held on for a narrow victory.

Banbury:

Harding, Ngathe, Hawtin, Nash, Wise, Carnell, Self, Sandy, Johnson, McDonagh, Winters Subs Howards for Sandy HT, Humphreys for Winters 76, macDonald for McDonagh 89,Peake-Pijnen, Bryan.

Hitchin:

Johnson, Cotter, Syme, Dowie, Webb, Bickerstaff, Kirkpatrick, Bailey, Donnelly, McNamara, Charles Subs Walster for Syme 67, Burns for Donnelly 60, Byrne, Tshikala, Coley for Charles 77.

Scorer:

Self (Banbury)

Red card:

Howards (Banbury)

Bookings:

Ngathe, Self and MacDonald (Banbury)

Hitchin:

Kirkpatrick

Attendance: 369

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