Hitchin Town still waiting as dominant Banbury bank points

PUBLISHED: 10:36 21 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:36 21 August 2017

Hitchin Town's Top Field ground

Hitchin Town's Top Field ground

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Hitchin Town suffered a 3-0 defeat against a dominant Banbury United side at Top Field on Saturday.

George Nash tapped home the opener from close range with just 10 minutes gone before Jefferson Louis struck a superb second on the hour mark.

A deflected strike from Luke Carnell made the score 3-0 and condemned the Canaries to their first defeat of the season after drawing their opening two games against Merthyr Town and St Neots Town.

Hitchin manager Mark Burke made one change from the side that drew 2-2 with St Neots on Monday, with captain Dan Webb replacing Will Wright in defence.

It didn’t take long for the opening goal of the game to arrive as Hitchin midfielder Danny Clifton lost the ball in the middle of the park and the away team moved forward quickly, with Ravi Shamsi cutting in from the right and firing goalwards.

Michael Johnson made the save but could only push the shot straight into the path of Nash, who tucked the ball home.

Banbury’s fast start seemed to rattle the Canaries as they struggled to maintain possession with a number of simple passes going astray.

When Burke’s team did string some passes together, they faced a wall of Banbury defenders as Jay Dowie and Charlie Smith saw shots blocked.

Lucas Kirkpatrick missed a glorious chance to draw Hitchin level as he headed over the crossbar just six yards from a floated Smith cross.

At the other end, Johnson was forced into a good save from Banbury’s Tom Winters, who curled a low effort around the wall that the Canaries keeper palmed round the post.

Both sides failed to create any clear chances as the half petered out but Hitchin came out fighting in the early stages of the second half, with Liam Brooks – after a brace against St Neots – racing onto a Kirkpatrick through ball but firing over the crossbar.

Banbury got the next goal, though, thanks to a superb strike by Louis after a free kick from Winters was headed clear by Webb and he took one touch to control before firing a looping half volley into the top corner, well out of the reach of Johnson.

The Hitchin keeper managed to keep the score at 2-0 just minutes later when he made a brilliant acrobatic save from a thunderous Winter drive that was destined for the top corner.

But Banbury were laying siege to the Canaries goal and it was only a matter of time before the third goal was scored.

It came in with 20 minutes left when defender Carnell hooked a shot goalwards and the tame effort took a big deflection off a Hitchin defender inside the six-yard box leaving Johnson helpless as the ball rolled over the line.

Hitchin were now looking for a consolation goal, with Brooks seeing a low effort from distance easily gathered by Jack Harding.

Efforts to restore some pride were consistently denied by the Banbury defence, who stood firm under a bombardment of crosses to leave Burke’s side still looking for their first win of the season.

They will hope to get it when they visit local rivals Biggleswade Town next Saturday.

Hitchin: Johnson, Cotter, Webb, Goode, Walster, Clifton (McCaffrey 50), Dowie, Kirpatrick (Bailey 59), Charles, Smith (B Donnelly 74), Brooks.

Unused substitutes: C Donnelly, Syme.

Banbury: Harding, Westbrook, Peake-Peenan, Nash, Carnell, Hawtin, Louis, McDonagh (Howards 73), Winters, Johnson, Shamsi (Humphreys 59). Unused subs: Bradbury, Martin, Blackstock.

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