Hitchin Town get back to winning ways but Stratford success comes with both relief and delight
PUBLISHED: 14:03 18 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03 18 October 2020
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Hitchin Town’s recent upturn in confidence got them back to winning ways in the Southern League Premier Division Central with a 2-1 success at Stratford Town – although it wasn’t as comfortable as it should have been.
The all-action game sprung into life in just the second minute when Alex Marsh was upended by Tyrell Belford and a penalty awarded.
The keeper redeemed himself though with a save for the usually reliable from 12 yards, Layne Eadie.
Belford made another save from Ryan Smith but it wasn’t long until Hitchin did score, Marsh combining with Luke Brown for the latter to fire low into the corner.
The game went end to end for the remainder of the half, but Hitchin were able to add a second right on the stroke of half-time with Marsh again the provider, this time for Marcus Goldbourne to double the lead.
Despite the two-goal lead at the break there had been some worrying moments for the Canaries and there was more to come in the second half as the hosts set about reducing the arrears.
Leam Howards, Callum Powell and Ashley Sammons all stretched the Hitchin defence while an effort from Will Grocott needed a save from Tiernan Parker.
Hitchin were grateful for any chance to get forward although a chance for Brown lacked the power to beat Belford.
The keeper was tested a little more by Goldbourne, doing well to tip the shot over the top, and when he was beaten by Callum Stead, the goal was ruled out for offside.
But Stratford were getting closer and finally got the breakthrough on 67 minutes, George Heaven heading in a corner.
Parker made a couple of saves to keep Hitchin in front and there were a couple of brave blocks as most among the travelling army of fans started to chew their nails.
It was all still frantic when Ben Walster was dismissed with four minutes of normal time to go, the skipper picking up a straight red.
Stoppage time did little to ease the worry on and off the pitch as Stratford began to send cross after cross into the area.
Fortunately it never came and there was both relief and delight at the final whistle for Hitchin.
Hitchin Town: Parker, Akubuine, Eadie, Smith (Caldecott-Stevens 76), Okoye-Ahaneku, Walster, A.Marsh, L.Marsh, Stead (Da Silva 85), Brown (Cawley 67), Gouldbourne.
Subs (not used): Sequeira, Green.
Goals: Brown 12, Goldbourne 45.
Booked: Akubine, Eadie.
Sent-off: Walster 86.
Stratford Town: Belford, Sharpe (Vann 46), Muggleton, Fry (Dawes), Heaven, Williams, Powell, Sammons, White (Isaac 58), Grocott, Howards.
Subs (not used): Curtis, Baimbridge.
Goal: Heaven 67.
Booked: Heaven, Fry.
HT: Stratford Town 0 Hitchin Town 2
Referee: Neill Pratt.
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