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Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Wed Apr 17

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Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
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The National League U19 Alliance

Ten-man Rebels beaten at Hitchin

Hitchin Town

Hitchin Town

Kirkpatrick (12), Rees (19), Peacock (42, 57), Webb (89)
Slough Town

Slough Town

Smith (84, 90+3)
League Attendance: 480 Edward Smith
Slough Town suffered a disastrous first-half collapse at Hitchin’s Top Field, with the dismissal of defender Reece Yorke after a quarter of an hour proving costly.

The away side has started well, and the early indications were that the Rebels could get in behind the Canaries. Jake Parsons, making his 100th appearance for Slough, tested goalkeeper Charlie Horlock, on loan from Wycombe, with a strike from a narrow angle, and the ball was cleared after being fumbled.

Despite a confident start, Hitchin took the lead on 12 minutes. A Slough attack on the right wing broke down, and Hitchin won a corner from which Lucas Kirkpatrick headed in unchallenged.

Worse was to follow almost immediately for Slough with the dismissal of Yorke. The defender collided with Brett Donnelly and appeared to kick out at the striker, giving referee N Davies no choice but to show the red card. This early flashpoint also resulted in cautions for Scott Harris and Hitchin’s Lewis Rolfe.

Just two minutes later, Hitchin doubled their lead with Slough, who replaced Dan Read with Billy Jeffreys, struggling to settle and reorganise. Ian Rees drove the ball through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner after the free kick was played into the box.

George Short went close for Slough, but the hosts could and should have made it 3-0 with Brett Donnelly just unable to connect with an inviting cross from Nat Peacock on 25 minutes.

Shortly after, Luke Williams beat away a stinging shot from Kirkpatrick as the Slough defence opened up and allowed him to run through the middle, and the keeper also superbly tipped over from an unmarked Jonny McNamara before Rees scooped the ball over an almost open goal to give Slough another let-off.

Slough responded with Scott Harris having a shot on the turn easily saved by Horlock, but the hosts scored a third goal three minutes before the interval to pretty much kill the game as a contest. Again Kirkpatrick found himself with the ball, and his strike was deflected in by Peacock beyond Williams.

Ed Smith came close to reducing the arrears on the stroke of half time, but Horlock did well to push the striker’s fierce shot behind.

Ben Edwards replaced Harris at the interval as Slough looked to shore up the midfield, and early in the half, Horlock made a fine save to keep out a half-volley from Ryan Parsons, with the keeper having seen the ball very late as it made its way through a crowd of bodies.

Kane Smith was next to force Williams into a top save, as his thunderbolt from 30 yards was tipped over, Williams showing good reactions.

Hitchin, though, did make it 4-0 on 57 minutes, and again Peacock was the man to apply the finish. Kirkpatrick was heavily involved again, as his initial shot from wide on the right was parried by Williams, and Peacock reacted quicker than any of the Slough defenders to poke the ball into the net.

The home side continued to dominate and pass the ball around with ease as Slough’s ten men laboured, but the Rebels did have cause for cheer on 84 minutes as Smith pulled a goal back with a headed effort after a long throw into the box.

However, this was not to be the last goal of the game, with Hitchin restoring their four goal lead five minutes later. Again Slough’s defending left a lot to be desired, with Dan Webb managing to head the ball down and over the out-of-position Williams from a corner to make it 5-1.

The last action of the game saw Smith pull another back – a fine header after an industrious run and cross from Ryan Parsons to mark his 20th goal of the season – but Slough were well beaten on the day with the late goals mere consolation.

Hitchin Town Lineup

Charlie Horlock, Lewis Rolfe, Kane Smith, Alasan Ann (c), Dan Webb, Lucas Kirkpatrick, Jonny McNamara (Sam Barker 45'), Callum Donnelly, Brett Donnelly (Simon Martin 64'), Nat Peacock, Ian Rees. Subs (not used): Ben Walster, Stuart Pearson, David Corran.


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