Hitchin Tn 0 Biggleswade Tn 1: Waders clip Canaries wings

PUBLISHED: 19:23 14 January 2018 | UPDATED: 19:23 14 January 2018

An entrance to Hitchin Town's Top Field ground (pic Toby Miles)

An entrance to Hitchin Town's Top Field ground (pic Toby Miles)

Archant

Biggleswade Town produced a near complete performance to beat a lacklustre Hitchin Town in their Southern League derby on Saturday.

Connor Hall’s 25th-minute goal was enough to land the Waders all three points for the second time this Evo-Stik Premier Division season; a rare double over the Canaries.

The game saw Liam Brooks’s return to Top Field after he made the move up the A1 to Biggleswade in November, while former Canaries Sam Donkin and Shane Hill also started.

It was a lively start to a well-attended derby match at the wonderfully ancient Top Field ground.

The home faithful were furious when they were denied a penalty in the ninth minute as a low corner led to a scramble in the box, with the hosts claiming the ball had struck a Biggleswade hand. The referee disagreed.

Hitchin’s best chance of the game came when a horrible mix-up between the Biggleswade centre-backs sent Elliot Bailey one-on-one with keeper Donkin in the penalty area.

Bailey hesitated too long and the keeper did well to push Hitchin’s top scorer wide.

Despite an even game to that point, the Yellows had looked slightly sharper in the final third.

However it was the away side that took the lead on 25 minutes after a lovely three-touch move as the Waders, in their orange and black away kit, took a 20-yard free-kick to Tony Burnett and his cross from the right was flicked into the net by Hall. Biggleswade were in control for the rest of the half, as Hitchin’s confidence and momentum had seemed to have taken a hit.

And a 1-0 scoreline at half time was a fair reflection on the balance of play, after a first-half performance from Hitchin that greatly disappointed the home fans.

The Waders began to dominate after the restart as Brooks ran through several times at the start of the half and the Canaries were forced into some last gasp challenges to stop him.

Moans and groans were becoming more frequent from the Hitchin faithful, with some talking of one of the worst performances they’d seen ‘for a long time.’

Former Biggleswade player Brett Donnelly came on after 60 minutes, shouting encouragement as he arrived on the field. Donnelly’s five years under Waders boss Chris Nunn included scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win against Canvey Island to put the Waders into the FA Cup first-round for the first time in 2013.

But Hitchin never really looked like scoring and Donkin wasn’t forced into any serious saves.

Biggleswade changed to a more counter attacking style for the rest of the half, and a lack of quality finishing was all that stopped them from putting Hitchin out of sight as substitute Morgan Penfold missed a golden chance one-on-one with Johnson in added time.

Hitchin’s second-half performance was lacklustre and when the final whistle went it was a deserved victory for the Waders.

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