Hitchin Town v Stourbridge - Match Preview

Hitchin Town v Stourbridge - Match Preview

By Nigel Gregg
9th August
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The wait is over! Time for the talking to stop and the action to begin! Stourbridge head to HITCHIN TOWN in their season opener on Saturday!


Saturday, 10th August 2019 - kick-off 3 pm
HITCHIN TOWN v STOURBRIDGE
BetVictor Southern League Premier Division Central

Stourbridge will wear blue and black at Hitchin.

Ground address -
Top Field Stadium
Fishponds Road
Hitchin
Hertfordshire SG5 1NU

Directions - From the M1 Junction 13, take the A507 signposted for Ampthill. Follow the A507 round Ampthill, Clophill and past Shefford for around 12 miles and then turn right at a roundabout to take the A600 towards Hitchin.

As you enter Hitchin, go straight on at the first two roundabouts past Bearton Road and Lancaster Avenue and then left at the third into FISHPONDS LANE (A505). The ground is immediately on the left with car parking beyond.

Please note that the Club Coach is FULL to Hitchin on Saturday.

ADMISSION PRICES

Travelling fans can purchase their tickets online in advance of our visit to Hitchin Town and save £1 on their admission in the process.

Discounted tickets can be purchased up to 11am on the day of the game.

See https://hitchintownfc.ktckts.com/brand/match-tickets

Otherwise admission prices at the turnstiles are -

Adults: £12 matchday

Concessions (Over 60s, Students Over 20 with ID, Registered Disabled (Carer Free)):
£8 matchday

Young Persons 13-19: £2 (ID must be shown if requested, otherwise adult price will be offered)

Children Under 13: FREE (if accompanying an adult)

Unaccompanied Under 13s will not be permitted entry

Over 80s: FREE

USEFUL LINKS

Twitter - https://twitter.com/HitchinTownFC

North Herts FM commentary (online)- https://www.northhertsfm.com/

PREVIOUS MEETINGS BETWEEN THE TWO CLUBS

Home - Away Competition
2018-19 3 - 0/ 1 - 2 SL Premier Div. Central
2013-14 1 – 1/ 1 – 1 Southern Premier
2012-13 4 – 1/ 1 – 0 Southern Premier
2011-12 0 – 0 / 0 – 2 Southern Premier
2008-09 1 – 0 / 2 – 2 Southern Premier
(Stourbridge score first)

Hitchin Town - This week's news bulletin and preview - https://hitchintownfc.club/weekly-bulletin-9th-aug-2019/

MATCH PREVIEW

A new era really commences on Saturday afternoon as Ian Long and Richard Colwell take their charge of the Glassboys for the first time in a league fixture. There could be a number of debutants tomorrow following a summer of change at the War Memorial Athletic Ground.

Pre-season has offered some encouragement for the new season, although the manager himself admits that he would like to bring in one more forward with experience of this level or above who could make that vital difference in the final third.

He has been successful in bringing in 20-year old creative right-sided midfielder or wide player KYLE FINN, who has joined on a month's loan from Hereford.

Different formations have been tried over the course of pre-season but decision time is upon us as the new management have to determine the best way forward as we face up to two games in quick succession with Stratford the visitors to Amblecote on Monday night.

Hitchin have certainly been busy in the last 24/48 hours with four more players brought on board by boss Mark Burke as he looks for a vast improvement on their final 18th place finish last season. At the same time the Canaries did reach the 1st Round Proper of the Emirates F A Cup last season before losing at home to Solihull Moors.

Hitchin's latest signings:
Jay Bird
Returning to Top Field is 17-year-old goal-scoring centre forward or winger Jay Bird. Jay originally signed for the Canaries on a work experience loan deal from MK Dons in March 2019, making 12 appearances. He signed his first professional contract with MK Dons in June 2019 and returned on loan to the Canaries in August 2019.

Jordan Norville-Williams
Jordan is a 19-year-old left-sided defender, joining on loan from Cambridge United. Has spent time on loan at Cambridge City, Harlow Town, Royston Town and most-recently, St. Neots Town, where he scored 4 goals in 31 appearances and particularly impressing during their fixture at Top Field back in April 2019.

Ciaran Gordon-Stearn
Ciaran is a goalkeeper who has appeared and impressed for the Club throughout pre-season. For a 19-year-old, Ciaran has already experienced a varied career between the sticks, with spells in the academy sides of Ipswich Town and Luton Town, during which he experienced various loans. Most recently he spent last season with Billericay Town and a spell in Sweden with Division 2 club Gottne IF.

Leo Donnellan
Leo is a 21-year-old midfielder. A former QPR youth team player and Republic of Ireland Under 18 International, his previous clubs include Dagenham & Redbridge and mostly recently, Maidstone United. Leo is the son of former Fulham & Chelsea player, Leo Donnellan Snr and brother of Woking defender, Shaun Donnellan.

From https://hitchintownfc.club/four-arrive-before-league-opener/

MATCH REPORT FROM OUR LAST VISIT

Saturday, 19th January 2019 - Hitchin 2 Stourbridge 1

The form book was well and truly turned upside down as the Glassboys saw their 13-match unbeaten run (12 in the league) ended at Top Field with the struggling Hertfordshire hosts getting back to winning ways after suffering seven straight losses since the festive period and continuing into the start of 2019.

Credit must be given to Mark Burke’s side who put on a determined performance that belied their lowly position and even when they fell behind early on against the run of play, they didn’t let their heads drop and their perseverance paid off. Stourbridge weren’t at their best. Their passing, whether short or long, wasn’t crisp or accurate enough for long periods and besides the early goal, it tended to be the hosts that were first to the ball on or around the edge of the respective penalty boxes.

With James Wren and Aris Christophorou ruled out, Niall Maher returned between the sticks for the visitors and Paul McCone was back after illness to partner Stuart Pierpoint at the heart of the defence.

Stourbridge played down the slope in the first period, however it was Hitchin who made the brighter start to proceedings. In the 6th minute a right-wing corner from Isaac Galliford was headed over by Lewis Ferrell in the middle.

Four minutes later though the Glassboys took the lead from their first attack of note. Aaron Forde clipped a ball into the penalty box and a weak header away by Jack Green dropped invitingly to Luke Benbow around 18 yards out. He swung at the ball on the half volley and his effort flew past a helpless Michael Johnson in the home goal.

Hitchin went on to enjoy the better of the remainder of the half however as they sought to get back on level terms.

In the 19th minute Galliford produced a fine dribbling run to leave a handful of Stourbridge players in his wake. He burst into the left-hand side of the area, however Maher, with good timing, dived at his feet to collect the ball.

Eight minutes later the hosts went even closer to an equaliser. Another flag-kick from Galliford wasn’t cleared convincingly and Daniel Webb got an angled shot away that beat Maher, but Robert Thompson-Brown was in the right place to block the ball with his chest on the line before the rebound was gathered by Maher.

In the 31st minute Jay Dowie swept a pass across to Alfie Cue just outside the right-hand edge of the box, but Maher got safely behind his low shot.

The Canaries were finally rewarded for their endeavours in the 35th minute. Noah Chesmain spread the ball from left to right with Harry Draper – Hitchin’s new teenage loan signing from league neighbours Stevenage – heading the ball down into the path of Galliford who collected it before smashing his shot past Maher to make it all-square.

Hitchin threatened again two minutes later with the ball falling the way of Josh Bickerstaff and he flashed a shot wide from the edge of the box.

The equalising goal did stir the visitors into a better finish to the half though and Stourbridge almost regained the lead a minute before the break. Thompson-Brown delivered in a corner from the right that Ferrell miscued in trying to clear and Benbow pounced to get a shot away on the turn that drew a sharp save from Johnson.

Half-time Hitchin Town 1 Stourbridge 1

Seven minutes after the re-start the home side might have made more of an opportunity when Cue and Galliford combined to find Ezra Forde. He might have been better finding Draper, who was in space on his right, however Forde elected to take the shot on and his low strike was saved by Maher down to his left.

Stourbridge then enjoyed their best passage of play in the contest without finding a way through. In the 53rd minute Jordaan Brown got forward to work a one-two with Benbow and burst into the area, but Johnson was alive to the threat and closed him down to smother his effort on goal.

Two minutes later Benbow fed Aaron Forde and he supplied a lay-off to Mills who forced the keeper into an excellent parried save and shortly afterwards Forde provided another pass into Mills and again Johnson gathered his low shot.

Hitchin responded on 59 minutes with Cue finding Draper, but he screwed his shot off-target before Stourbridge made two changes in quick succession. Bilai Yafai replaced Kaiman Anderson after 61 minutes before Tom Tonks was introduced in place of Thompson-Brown two minutes later and in the midst of this Aaron Forde found his way into the referee’s notebook too.

With 71 minutes gone it was the home side who got the all-important next goal. McCone was penalised for a foul on Draper and Galliford took the resulting free-kick, which was delivered towards the back post where sub Scott Belgrove managed to turn the ball low back across the face of the goal and Draper capped his debut by firing home past Maher to put Hitchin in-front.

Much of the remainder of the game was scrappy and frenetic as Stourbridge desperately tried to salvage something out of the game. With eight minutes left an extra attacking player was sent on as Chekaine Steele replaced right-back Darryl Westlake with Mills moved inside further forward, but Hitchin defended soundly to keep the Glassboys at arm’s length. Mills picked up a late caution as the visitors grew more frustrated.

Four minutes of stoppage time was signalled and the Glassboys continued to launch the ball into the box. Forde hung one cross up and Steele saw his far post header claimed by Johnson as time eventually ran out for the visitors who should have shown that same level of urgency earlier.

The often highlighted jinx of the ‘Club (or Manager) of the Month’ award had claimed yet another victim !

Team – Maher, Westlake, Brown, McCone, Pierpoint, Forde, Anderson, Broadhurst, Benbow, Thompson-Brown, Mills

Subs – Yafai (for Anderson 61 mins), Tonks (for Thompson-Brown 63 mins), Steele (for Westlake 83 mins), Birch, Hawk (not used)

Attendance – 354

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