Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Hitchin Town

Cawley (30)

Hednesford Town

Flanagan (62), Atkinson (64)

(1) 1

(0) 2



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Andre Landell



Redditch United (A) 15.2.22

two-minute spell midway through the second half saw the Pitmen turn the game on its head with goals from Reece Flanagan and Wes Atkinson to claim all three points at relegation-threatened Hitchin this afternoon

Having beaten Peterborough Sports so convincingly last weekend, the Pitmen arrived in Hertfordshire to face the struggling Canaries with two changes to their side for the game, as on-loan Wolves goalkeeper Joe O'Shaughnessy was handed his debut in place of Bradley Clarkson, whilst Andre Landell was restored to the XI in place of the injured Chay Tilt

Hosts Hitchin had recently been in fine form despite their lowly league position, going four games unbeaten since the middle of December until last weekend, where they were beaten 3-1 by in-form Needham Market. Manager Mark Burke one change from the side that had been beaten at Bloomfields as Malaki Black came into the side ahead of the suspended former Wolves and Ireland Stephen Gleeson

A nervy opening to the game from new boy O'Shaughnessy saw him scuff a second-minute clearance straight into the path of Jack Hutchinson, whose first-time return shot was deflected away by the chest of skipper Lewis Ison

There were muted calls for a Hitchin penalty kick two minutes later as Ison and Steve Cawley clashed in the penalty area, with Cawley's pleas for a penalty kick were ignored by the referee

The Pitmen's first effort at goal came in the seventh minute as Andre Landell picked the ball up just outside the Hitchin penalty area and tried to curl his shot around the body of Jack Green 

A minute later, Hitchin had a great chance to take the lead as Hutchinson struck a great effort just wide of goal from just inside the Hednesford penalty area after a long chipped ball forwards from Josh Coldicott-Stevens had found the striker in behind the away side's defence

The crossbar denied the hosts a goal in the tenth minute of a lively opener as Cawley struck a shot at goal that came back off the crossbar with a first time effort from an angle after Stan Georgiou's long, raking through ball from the right

A minute later Hutchinson picked up the first booking of the afternoon as he was adjudged to have dived just outside the penalty area as he went down a little too easily under Martin Riley's challenge

Bennett put a shot wide in the thirteenth minute as he scuffed his shot wide of goal after Horlock could only punch Landell's teasing cross from the left cross straight into his path, just inside the Hitchin penalty area

Two minutes later, Green won a free-kick down the right flank after being brought down by Todd Parker; Coldicott-Stevens whipped into the far post, where Ciaren Jones's glancing header from six yards out bounced off the far post and out of play

The busy Landell tested Horlock's reflexes in the twentieth minute as he drove in from the left flank and unleashed a low driven shot from twenty yards out that the Hitchin captain turned away for a corner kick to the Pitmen

Flanagan's resultant inswinging corner kick was met by the head of Riley O'Sullivan, whose powerful header came back off the crossbar and into play, where Hitchin managed to clear their lines before anyone in white could react to the ball

Midway through the first half, Cater was pulled up for a tight offside call as he raced in behind the Hitchin defence to reach a threaded through ball from Flanagan just inside the Hitchin half

On the half-hour mark, the hosts took the lead as Coldicott-Stevens' sidefooted a corner kick to Cawley, whose clever clipped effort from fifteen yards out beat O'Shaughnessy as it looped over his head and into the far corner of the net - it was the midfielder's second goal of the season and a well-worked goal that was masterfully executed by the experienced Cawley

Successive corners from Coldicott-Stevens on thirty-four minutes put the Pitmen under further pressure, with O'Shaughnessy punching the second cross clear and away from the head of Hutchinson

On thirty-eight minutes, Alex Brown tried his luck from fully thirty yards out with an audacious effort that just cleared O'Shaughnessy's crossbar as it dipped over

A poorly-struck shot from Parker with three minutes of the half remaining ended up sailing well, well wide of goal and nearly went out for a throw-in, prompting ironic cheers from the home fans. It was a sad fact that this had been one of the Pitmen's better efforts at goal in what had been a dreadful first-half showing

And yet, in first-half added time, the Pitmen were handed a chance to get themselves back into the game from nowhere as Landell's pace saw him get past Matt Moloney before being brought down by the defender in the box. The visitors were awarded a penalty kick by the referee, which Bennett took but struck it straight at Horlock, who made a fine save with was to prove to be the final action of the first period

The Pitmen, in all honesty, had been awful for large periods of the first half as they had struggled to create anything of real note other than Bennett's missed penalty and had been picked off time and again by a Hitchin side that had taken advantage of the visitors' defensive shortcomings

There was more defensive indecision from the Pitmen early in the second half as Martin Riley gifted the ball to the lively Callum Stead, who fired over the crossbar from twenty yards out with a first-time shot

On fifty-two minutes, Cater made a run down the right-wing for the Pitmen as Hutchinson got himself into difficulties and lost the ball to the winger; the former Chasetown man played back the ball into the path of O'Sullivan, who somehow turned the ball wide from six yards out

The hosts had seen plenty of joy from corner kicks, with another Coldicott-Stevens sending over another ball on fifty-five minutes that O'Shaughnessy claimed, but subsequently dropped into the path of Cawley before the debutant managed to catch at the second attempt

Stead should have doubled Hitchin's lead as the hosts hit the woodwork once again on fifty-eight minutes as superb skill from the in-form forward saw him control another Coldicott-Stevens cross at the far post, twisting and turning past Atkinson before shooting at goal from an angle and striking the underside of the crossbar

Despite being a solid second best throughout the game, the Pitmen equalised on sixty-two minutes as Flanagan got on the end of an O'Sullivan flick-on after Lycett had crossed from the left-wing, volleying the rebound past Horlock's left-hand side from ten yards out after he was left unmarked to fire home. The midfielder is now the club's top scorer of the season with eight goals

Two minutes later, the Pitmen completed an incredible turnaround as Atkinson grabbed his first-ever goal for the club; good build-up play from the Pitmen saw Landell drift infield from the left and play the ball to O'Sullivan, who in turn slotted the ball through to the overlapping Atkinson to strike a fine angled drive beyond the reach of Horlock and into the far corner of the net

Cater's touch deserted him at the crucial moment as he reached a cross from Landell down the right on sixty-eight minutes, but could get a deft touch on the ball and scuffed his effort high and wide of goal

Landell himself drove a shot over the crossbar a minute later, making another surging run inside from the left flank before looping his shot from over twenty yards out just over Horlock's crossbar

O'Shaughnessy made a fine save to deny Cawley on seventy-two minutes as he palmed the midfielder's goalbound shot upwards and over the crossbar for a Hitchin corner kick after Hutchinson's pass had set the former Hemel Hempstead Town man up

Flanagan fouled Stead down by the corner flag with sixteen remaining and was booked for his foul on the Hitchin man. Coldicott-Stevens took the resultant free-kick and found Jones, who was denied a tap-in by Ison's timely clearance

On seventy-seven minutes, Jed Davies made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a long-term injury as he replaced Landell, who had been involved in both of the Pitmen's second-half goals

There was a hold-up to play with ten minutes remaining as one of the assistant referees pulled up holding his leg, prompting a tannoy message from the hosts asking for a member of the crowd to deputise for the remainder of the game. A Hednesford supporter kindly volunteered to step in and run the line, with the game restarting some twelve minutes later after he had changed into the gear and been briefed by the referee

Lycett's afternoon was brought to an end two minutes later as the young left-back was replaced by fellow teenager Tom Armitage for the ten minutes of added time remaining

Hitchin had a loud call for a penalty kick on ninety-three minutes as Stead went down under Ison's challenge as the pair chased the ball down, but the referee was unimpressed and the game continued

Utility man Josh Webb returned to action for the Pitmen after his long injury lay-off as he came on in place of Bennett five minutes into added time as Meakin-Richards added more fresh legs to his side

The hosts ramped up the pressure on the Hednesford defence with Coldicott-Stevens sending over a fine cross in the ninth minute of added time to find the head of Green, who saw his effort across goal headed narrowly wide of his own post by behind O'Sullivan for a corner

From the resultant Coldicott-Stevens corner, the ball made its way through to Georgiou, whose diving header skipped a foot or so just wide of O'Shaughnessy's far post. Close from the hosts late on

O'Shaughnessy's indifferent debut continued late into the game as he was booked for time-wasting for attempting to run the clock down with a slowly-taken goal kick

The visitors hung on to record their first back-to-back league victories since the opening week of the season, maintaining their ninth place in the Southern Premier League Central table on thirty-six points ahead of a two-week break from action; they travel to Redditch United in a fortnight's time looking to record another three points that could draw Hednesford a little closer to the play-off pack above them

Hitchin Town: Horlock ©, Green, Brown, Coldicott-Stevens, Moloney, Jones, Stead, Georgiou, Hutchinson , Cawley, Black      Subs Unused: Dasilva, Ackom, Kinoshi, Tearle, Allotney

Hednesford Town: O'Shaughnessy , Atkinson, Lycett (Armitage 90), Riley, Ison ©, Flanagan , Landell (Davies 77), Parker, O'Sullivan, Bennett (Webb 90+5), Cater       Subs Unused: Richards, Williams