HSCL PREMIER DIVISION
This closely fought local derby at the Top Field Hitchin was just edged by Baldock who clung on to an early goal and withstood sustained Eagles pressure to equalise. The Eagles played some attractive football at times, but failed to convert several clear chances during the game.
Eagles opened brightly and were the first to threaten a goal when Ben L’Honore played a through ball inside a Baldock defender to Hunter Diack whose shot for the top corner brought a fine acrobatic save from keeper Stillwell to turn the ball over the bar.
It was however, Baldock who drew first blood when they scored after 15 minutes. They were awarded a free kick about 35 yards out on the right. The ball was crossed into the middle, Eagles defender Lewis Mitchell slipped and centre back Morgan smashed the ball into the net from the edge of the penalty area.. Baldock were presented with a similar opportunity a few minutes later but this time the ball was headed wide.
After 23 minutes L’Honore ran on to a pass from Sam Williams, cut inside from the left and shot hard and low for the corner of the net, but Stillwell blocked the shot with his body and there was no eagles player following up in the penalty are to put the loose ball into an open goal. This was L’Honore’s last contribution to the game, having pulled a hamstring making the shot, and leaving the field shortly after. Eagles had another chance after 35 minutes when a John Steyne shot was charged down and Jason Drackford ‘s attempt to score into an open goal was blocked for a corner.
5 minutes before half time Baldock almost scored again but keeper Dan Goad was quickly out of his goal to smother a through ball that sneaked through the Eagles defence ahead of a chasing Baldock player.
After half time Eagles were soon on the offensive and after 48 minutes Sam Gittings had a great opportunity to score from a cross from the left. He threw himself forward for a low diving header but failed to make proper contact and the chance was lost. Ten minutes later Gittings was put through with only the keeper to beat from 6 yards but his weak shot was easily held by Stillwell. Baldock also threatened and Goad had to make a smart save to push a goal bound shot over the bar.
Shane Carthy hit a volley wide from 25 yards following a corner and Baldock almost scored after 80 minutes in a breakaway move on the right . Clever play by the Baldock forward gave him a shooting chance inside the penalty area, but the shot was parried by Goad and the rebound hacked away to safety by Eagles defenders.
There was plenty of attacking play by both teams during the last few minutes, but no clear chances were created so Baldock emerged victorious with the only goal of a fiercely contested game.