Hitchin Town 2-2 St Ives Town
PUBLISHED: 14:33 26 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:37 26 September 2017
Hitchin Town drew 2-2 with St Ives in the Evo-Stick Southern Premier division at Top Field on Monday evening.
The Canaries battled back after twice going behind the visitors from Cambridgeshire and could have clinched all three points.
Hitchin made three changes from Saturday’s win against Basingstoke as Brett Donnelly and Jack Green started along with Ben Walster, as Josh Bickerstaff moved into the centre of defence to replace injured skipper Dan Webb.
In a scrappy first half Mark Burke’s men failed to maintain the momentum from the weekend while the lowly Saints showed plenty of commitment and purpose going forward.
On 12 minutes Ricky Marheineke’s men had their reward as Jimmy Hartley fired in a low shot from the edge of the area to give them the lead.
Burke’s boys had chances and Jonny McNamara was at the heart of them. He turned home a Walster shot on 21 minutes only to be flagged offside and also fired wide as St Ives keeper James Goff came out to make the target smaller.
At the other end only some last ditch clearances by Jay Dowie stopped Hartley and the experienced Lewis Hilliard from exploiting space in the Hitchin defence.
A late shot by Lucas Kirkpatrick was gathered by Goff as the half ended but the visitors merited their narrow lead.
Hitchin were more purposeful from the restart and had an early shout for a penalty waved away when a shot by Green was turned wide of the post.
There was certainly debate on the mater from players and the fans behind the goal – arguing a defender had got a vital hand to the ball.
Lucas Kirkpatrick blazed over after McNamara had jinked between three defenders and cut the ball back.
On 52 minutes, McNamara struck with his third in three games as he got between Goff and defender Brett Longden to flick the ball home.
Following good work by Kavan Cotter – who looked composed on the ball, Callum Donnelly’s cross was headed just over by Brett.
The brothers then dovetailed to play in McNamara who was thwarted by Goff.
However on 65 minutes, against the run of play, St Ives regained the lead when a cross from the left was headed home by Peter Clarke.
Hitchin refused to be deflated and four minutes later scored the best goal of the night. Goff punched away a corner and it fell to Dowie who returned a dipping shot from some 25 yards that flew over the keeper to level the scores.
From then it was almost all Hitchin while St Ives looked to hang onto their point.
Green, Callum Donnelly and McNamara all came close. In a frantic last five minutes, Connor Vincent - making his Canary league debut - went close twice. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Charles and Callum Donnelly combined to create a final chance for McNamara but he could not fashion a shot and the Canaries had to be content with a hard-fought 2-2 draw.
The result saw the Canaries move up to 17th place in the table and they should take heart from the second half performance as they travel on Saturday to Gosport Borough who have yet to register a point this season.
Johnson, Cotter, Walster, Dowie, Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Kirkpatrick (Charles), Callum Donnelly, Brett Donnelly (Vincent), Green, McNamara.
St Ives Town: Goff, Miles Smith, Longden, De’Ath, Chaffey, McGowan, Hilliard (Seymour-Shove), Clark (Hall), Kelly, Hartley (Ogbonna), Draycott.