Gallery: Three goals and three points - Hitchin Town begin the new season with victory over Marlow

IT wasn t perfect, but three points and a clean sheet is more than most Hitchin Town fans would have hoped for from their first game of the season. Despite a sloppy first half in which too many passes went astray the second period saw a much more assured

IT wasn't perfect, but three points and a clean sheet is more than most Hitchin Town fans would have hoped for from their first game of the season.

Despite a sloppy first half in which too many passes went astray the second period saw a much more assured performance from the Canaries and there were glimpses of some attractive football as Hitchin began to dominate proceedings.

Hitchin began the game with eight new signings in their starting line-up as manager Colin Payne remained true to his word following his side's relegation last season.

Up front former Stevenage Borough youngster Zak Burke partnered the impressive Jamie Arlick in the absence of Jeff Hammond, while in midfield Steve Velandia slotted in alongside Liam Donnelly.


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It is at the back, though, were Hitchin have fallen foul in past seasons and there were early problems once again as time and again Dean Gilbert was forced to rescue his teammates with a number of last ditch tackles in what his boss Colin Payne called a "near-perfect display".

A half time change saw Danny Payne come on at right back and Ashley Grinham move to the left to replace Sean Reece and the substitution had the desired effect with Hitchin looking more likely to be able to defend a lead given to them by a sweet Arlick strike in the 41st minute.

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Within 17 minutes of the restart Hitchin were 3-0 up; Luke Donnelly finished off a good move down the left by Burke and Tony Fontenelle and then Burke got on the scoresheet himself by pouncing on a fumble by Keiron Drake in the Marlow goal and using the back of his heel to flick the ball into the onion bag.

In reply Marlow sent on a giant of a footballer in the lanky form of Alex Stewart, and before long Stewart thought he had scored after poking home a rebound he himself had headed onto the bar only to see it disallowed for offside.

It was a comfortable victory with room for improvement for Hitchin, but it was a win nonetheless.

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Reece (Payne h/t), Grinham, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Donnelly, Arlick, Velandia (Williams 70), Burke (Howell 79).

Attendance 303

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