STRATFORD Town survived a second-half Hitchin onslaught to earn a point in a highly-charged 1-1 draw at the DCS on Tuesday night.
Hitchin dominated a one-sided second period, but were left continually frustrated by a dogged Town, for whom goalkeeper Andy Kemp was outstanding.
Carl Adams’ side took a deserved 16th-minute lead when Kieren Westwood’s pinpoint cross found the head of Tyrone Fagan, whose thumping header beat Hitchin keeper Charlie Horlock.
The visitors were back level ten minutes later when good work from Jonny McNamara down the right flank saw him cross to Brett Donnelly in space. Kemp blocked his first attempt before the striker made amends and slotted in the rebound.
The second half saw Hitchin dominate for long periods, but they found Stratford – and in particular Kemp – a tough nut to crack.
The Town stopper made a string of top saves to keep out goal-bound efforts from Mason Spence, Robbie Burns and McNamara.
Hitchin thought they had finally found a winner in added time, only for the referee’s assistant to rule it out for offside.
The Hitchin players were visibly furious with the decision and the game began to bubble over as a result.
And in the third minute of added time a mass brawl ensued, where a scuffle between Michael McGrath and MacNamara saw the Town midfielder given his marching orders by referee Andy Hendley.
It saw the game end on a sour note on what was otherwise a positive night for Town, where they showed a huge amount of fighting spirit against a side gunning for promotion.
Full report and reaction in this week’s Herald