Date: Sun 11 Aug 2019

By David Simpson

Hitchin Town v Stourbridge

Match Video Highlights

Hitchin Town FC - Media Team

The Real thing follows the ‘phoney war’ of the preseason's hotchpotch and the new, young Hitchin side, with seven debutants, faced a strong Stourbridge side and were deemed unfortunate not to grasp a point when a last-minute strike was over-ruled for offside. This opening game provided a real test since the visitors are certainly among the favourites to win the title, and they certainly began in earnest, adapting well to the blustery conditions.

The controversial moment arrived and as a throw came in heads were a bobbing and Webb’s touch appeared to come from a deflection and Draper headed the ball into the net. What a moment – a point, as I say, nobly won at the death. But the off-side flag was imperiously raised and the referee consulted his assistant, Mr Wilkinson. Then instead of the arm pointing to the centre circle, the referee raised it for the free-kick. Hitchin was thus denied. The referee patiently explained it all to me later and if Draper had resisted the natural urge to finish the goal, from the head of Webb would have stood. The crucial point was that the goalkeeper had come off his line and that meant that there was just one not two defenders in place. Hitchin players pointed out that his defender was on the line but the decision stood to our chagrin and to the Glassboys’ relief.

Yes, it was disappointing not to secure what would have been a deserved point, but what we can take from this is that we witnessed, after a nervous start, a decent Hitchin performance against a ‘fancied’ team that was indeed just a bit relieved at the final whistle.

Hitchin Town Web Site