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Frome Town 0-3 Hitchin Town – Evo-Stik Premier – Saturday 4th April 2015

Two early goals and a third right at the end saw Hitchin cruise to a deserved victory over a Frome Town side that produced plenty of effort, but never really found a way to unlock the disciplined defence of the visitors.

As seems to often be the case, Frome carved out a chance in the opening minutes as Lewis Haldane crossed from the left only for Ricky Hulbert to head  straight in the arms of Charlie Horlock, but the visitors then counter attacked and took the lead  in the third minute as a clearing header lacked distance and Lucas Kirkpatrick drove the ball low into the far corner from just inside the area.

With Hulbert going close soon after as he was set up by a Jack Vallis header, Frome had the ball in the net in the 8th minute as Haldane dispossessed Alasan Ann and his cross was picked up by Ollie Taylor who drove into the box and shot into the far corner, only for the referee to disallow the goal after the linesman had flagged for offside, presumably for a home player touching the ball as it went over the line.

Hitchin doubled their lead in the 12th with a spectacular overhead kick from Ian Rees after another weak defensive header had failed to deal with a ball from the right and Frome were now facing a difficult task against an organised side.

However they had plenty of fight and passion at this point and certainly looked likely to reduce the deficit, though Hitchin always looked dangerous on the break as Frome attacked in numbers.

A Taylor header from a Jon Vance free kick landed on the top of the Hitchin bar in the 22nd, but then Darren Chitty brought off a good save to deny Brett Donnelly three minutes later, and only a good Mark Cooper block denied the visitors a few minutes afterwards.

Haldane cut inside his man in the 35th and hit a slightly deflected shot onto the Hitchin bar and from the resulting corner a Jack Vallis header was cleared off the line, and with a Vance free kick just evading everybody and Rhys Baggridge going close at the far post, it always seemed likely that Frome would score, but it didn’t happen, and with Chitty making two good saves just before the break, the second half looked tantalising.

Unfortunately, the second half failed to live up to the standard of the first, and Frome failed to make any real impression on a well marshalled and organised Hitchin side that always seemed to have more players on the pitch and looked likely to increase their lead every time they went forward.

Chitty saved well with his feet in the 49th to deny Nat Peacock and he brought off another great save in the 77th to deny Kirkpatrick, but at the other end, Charlie Horlock was having an easy time in the Hitchin goal and didn’t really have a save to make in the entire second half.

As the final whistle approached, a Haldane thunderbolt whistled past the visitors far post, but then Hitchin made it 3-0  after Anthony Tonkin had fouled Ian Rees resulting in a penalty for the visitors. Chitty did well to save the penalty from Lewis Rolfe, but was helpless as he watched the ball  return perfectly to the taker and  Rolfe volleyed home the rebound.

Darren Chitty was awarded the  H&B Tyres Man of the Match award by match sponsor Neil Clarke. Crowd: 210. Entertainment Value: 3/5