Southern League: Hitchin Town 6 Kings Langley 0
PUBLISHED: 18:27 30 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:27 30 December 2017
A Trey Charles hat-trick helped Hitchin Town to a superb 6-0 win over Kings Langley in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division to earn the Canaries local bragging rights and finish 2017 on a high.
Charlie Smith gave the home side the lead with a close range finish before Charles lobbed a second just before the break, with the winger adding two more early in the second half to complete his treble.
Elliot Bailey claimed a fifth with just over 20 minutes left before Lucas Kirkpatrick converted a penalty in the 82nd minute as the 17-mile gap between the two sides was dwarfed by the gulf in quality.
Canaries manager Mark Burke made one change from the side that fell to a 2-1 defeat against Royston Town on Boxing Day, with Smith replacing the suspended Lewis Rolfe.
Former Hitchin player and Kings Langley caretaker boss Steve Conroy made three changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Chesham United.
Michael Bennett – on loan from Hitchin – was ineligible to face his parent club with Ross Hampton taking his place in goal.
Gary Connolly and Brendan Ocran also dropped out of the squad, being replaced in the starting XI by Emmanuel Folarin and Chris Gosling.
It took just nine minutes for Hitchin to take the lead thanks to a huge error by Hampton in the Kings Langley goal.
A long ball over the top from Jay Dowie invited Connor Vincent to race in behind and the visiting goalkeeper rushed from his penalty area, with Vincent able to skip round him, only for Kings Langley captain Jorrell Johnson to clear the striker’s effort off the line.
However, the clearance fell straight to Smith who kept his cool under pressure to slot the ball into the back of the net and give the Canaries the lead.
Unfortunately for Burke, the goal came at a cost with Vincent picking up an injury in the build-up to the goal, being replaced by veteran forward Brett Donnelly.
Kings Langley looked to hit back immediately with Steve Ward almost turning home a Michael King cross while Hitchin ‘keeper Micheal Johnson showed some nerves in between the sticks as he dropped two crosses in quick succession.
Following a quiet spell the game sprang into life just five minutes before the break as the Canaries doubled their lead.
Smith turned provider this time, running from inside his own half and spotting the crossfield run of Charles, playing the winger through on goal.
Charles showed great awareness, shooting first time as Hampton once again rushed from his goal, delicately lifting the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net, much to the delight of the home support on the terrace behind the goal.
Hitchin very nearly made it 3-0 in the dying seconds of the first half as Jonny McNamara fed Lucas Kirkpatrick but, Hampton made a good save at his feet before turning behind Dowie’s long range effort.
The double save meant Burke’s side headed down the tunnel at the interval with a deserved 2-0 lead.
The second half started in much the same way as a goalmouth scramble on the line somehow stayed out but it didn’t remain that way for long as Charles scored again with 50 minutes gone to put Hitchin 3-0 in front.
McNamara’s mazy run on the left was followed by a low cross to the far post that found Charles, who slotted the ball under a sliding defender and diving goalkeeper for his second goal of the afternoon.
It took just another five minutes for Charles to wrap up his hat-trick as the winger tapped home at the back post once again after good work from Smith – picking up his second assist of the afternoon – to put the dominant Canaries into a 4-0 lead.
Substitute Bailey was next to get in on the act with 69 minutes played.
Charles was involved again with his cross just evading Donnelly at the near post but goalkeeper Hampton could only divert the ball into the path of Bailey, who stabbed home inside the six-yard box for 5-0.
Kirkpatrick made it 6-0 from the penalty spot as he coolly slotted down the middle after a high foot on Donnelly led to the award.
Canaries skipper Webb headed inches wide from a Charles cross with just minutes remaining as the home side ran out rampant winners at Top Field and climbed to sixth in the table.
Burke’s side travel to Banbury United next Saturday looking to start the New Year with a win and continue to climb the table.
Hitchin: Johnson, Cotter, Syme, Smith (Walster 78), Webb, Bickerstaff, Dowie, Kirkpatrick, Vincent (B Donnelly 11), McNamara (Bailey 63), Charles. Unused sub: Tshikala.
Kings Langley: Hampton, Folarin, Adebiyi, Tring, Johnson, Godfrey, Ward, Coldicott-Stevens (Jung 80), King, Gosling (Price 57), Turner. Unused subs: Hodgins, Harrison.