Rebels downed by Hitchin

Hitchin Town

Hitchin Town

Beevor (51), Williams (55), Akurang (74)
Slough Town

Slough Town

League Attendance: 335 Danny Honey
Slough Town began this game as much the brighter of the two teams but an injury to central defender Keith McPherson proved to be a turning point in the game, and Hitchin went on to win comfortably, with Dave Rainford's late red card adding to Slough's woes.

Slough created an early effort for Steve Daly on the edge of the area, only for him to hit his twenty yard effort wide of the target.

Mark Hawthorne did well to find the run of Dwight Marshall across the Hitchin defence. Marshall managed to hold off the defender before laying the ball off to Rainford. His cross found the late run of Hawthorne into the area, but his effort was comfortably saved by Bonfield in the Hitchin goal.

Slough had the upper hand and looked much the better side, but were not able to punish the home side. A Holsgrove effort was well saved by Bonfield but the rebound fell to Marshall who slotted home, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.

The next chance fell to Lambert, who received the ball on the left wing and hit a cross-shot which was heading into the top left hand corner before being tipped over by Bonfield.

From the resultant corner, Lambert's cross was met by the head of McPherson, and in the resulting challenge, McPherson collided with Bonfield and ended up leaving the game five minutes later with suspected broken ribs.

A Hawthorne free kick was flicked on by Hall into the six yard area. Bonfield came out but misjudged the flight of the ball and his punch fell to Steve Daly. The centre back hit an early effort with Bonfield grounded, but the keeper lifted his legs and managed to steer the ball wide of the goal. Haynes then came in to replace McPherson, with Holsgrove moving from central midfield to centre back, and Lambert moving inside to central midfield and Haynes coming on as wingback.

Hitchin began to assert themselves on the game. Marshall cut inside from the left wing and hit a good effort across the goal, only to see it palmed wide by Honey. Shortly after, Parker cut across the defence from the right and hit a strong effort but again, failed to get it past Honey, who pulled off another good save.

With the last chance of the half, Rainford made space for Hawthorne to chip the ball in to the run of Marshall, and when the slightest contact would have steered the ball goalwards, the Rebels striker failed to contact and the ball ran through harmlessly to Bonfield.

Hitchin continued the second half where they finished the first, with the upper hand, and they made their early chances count, going 2-0 up inside the opening ten minutes.

The first goal came after a corner was met by the run of Beevor, whose close range header left Honey with little chance, after he had lost his marker in his near post run.

In between goals, Dwight Marshall saw his cross shot effort well palmed away by Bonfield, but then within a minute, a Parker cross from the right wing found an unmarked Williams at the back post, and his first time volleyed effort went low back across the goal, again leaving Honey with little chance of keeping the ball out.

With Hitchin now content to keep more bodies behind the ball and hit Slough on the counter attack, and with the heavy pitch taking its toll on both sides, the game became a midfield battle with neither side being able to create much. Parker was unlucky to only hit the post with a speculative effort after 61 minutes with his shot hitting the outside of the post after Honey let it go, anticipating it to go wide.

The talking point of the half came with 68 minutes on the clock. Slough gained a throw-in around the halfway line after Williams had tackled Rainford strongly close to the touchline. A tussle ensued with Rainford attempting to get the ball back off Williams, and as a result, aimed an elbow in the direction of Williams, who went down theatrically, when it seemed there was minimal contact. There was only one decision the referee could take, and Rainford was promptly sent off.

Slough did not give up though, and created a chance for Wilkinson from a Mark Hawthorne right wing cross. The combative midfielder headed wide, when he perhaps should have done better.

Hitchin quickly broke away down the right wing and a back post cross from the byline caught Honey out of position and left Akurang with an easy finish at the back post, despite the best efforts of Daly.

Honey then almost reprieved himself when he pulled off two magnificent saves from close range in quick succession, when Hitchin should have extended their lead.

With only eight minutes remaining, a Holsgrove cross was flicked on to Hall at the back post but he snatched at the volley and hit the ball well wide. Moments later, Hitchin substitute Nolan was released through the tiring Slough back line, but as Honey advanced to close the angle, he hit his shot well over the bar.

The last chance of the game fell to Akurang who managed to take the ball past two defenders before hitting the ball back across the goal, but could not get his attempt on target.

Hitchin Town Lineup

Bonfield, Bone, Grime, Allpress, Kean, Scott, Williams, Marshall, Akurang, Parker, Beevor. Subs: Nolan, Silvestre, Vixon


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