Burke keeping positive after season starts with two draws

PUBLISHED: 10:04 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:04 17 August 2017

Liam Brooks bagged a brace for Hitchin Town against St Neots. Picture: DANNY LOO

Liam Brooks bagged a brace for Hitchin Town against St Neots. Picture: DANNY LOO

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Hitchin Town manager Mark Burke was keen to take positives from his side’s 2-2 draw with St Neots Town on Monday night – despite conceding a last-minute equaliser.

That draw followed a goal-less encounter at Merthyr Town on Saturday, a game the Canaries’ boss believes took a lot out of his players.

Speaking to the Comet post-match, Burke said: “We put a shift in and I thought we played really well tonight.

“The boys worked really hard but I think that trip to Merthyr on Saturday took it out of them.

“They were a bit flat-footed for the second goal with what was virtually the last kick of the game. That was a real kicker for us.

“But, we can take solace from the fact that when they scored it, St Neots celebrated like they’d won the game, which shows you how far we’ve come; that teams come to Top Field, get a point and regard it as a victory.

“Overall I’m pleased with the performance and it’s just a shame we didn’t get all three points.”

Hitchin took the lead twice on Monday night thanks to a brace from Liam Brooks, but they were pegged back on both occasions after a mistake from goalkeeper Michael Johnson and a scrappy equaliser from Danny Watson, seeing the spoils shared.

Burke was forced to name two young sides for both games with a host of senior players unavailable.

Seven made their debut in Wales, while the average age of the squad below 22.

“You look at the experience players we are missing and it’s nearly a virtual team,” he said.

“What’s great is that means there’s competition for places and just because players are available again doesn’t mean they are walking into the team.

“The boys have done really well the last two games so they going to have to fight for their place to get back.”

The Canaries return to Top Field on Saturday when they face Banbury United – who currently top the EvoStik Southern Premier League table with two wins and eight goals scored.

Burke said: “There have been plenty of positives for us to take so far.

“We’ve got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and go again on Saturday in a difficult game.

“For me, Banbury United are a dark horse of the league so we know it will be tough.”

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