STRATFORD Town suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to high-flying Hitchin Town as Kye Tearle’s second-half goal proved decisive.
Tearle’s scrappy goal on 70 minutes settled a close game at the Arden Garages Stadium as the Bards struggled to create a clear-cut opening all night.
The result means Stratford sit 14th in the Southern League Premier Central table, six points outside of the play-off places.
Chances were at a premium in the first half as both Callum Ebanks and Jack Storer fired wide with neither goalkeeper forced into a save before the interval.
Hitchin took control of the game in the second half as Bards keeper Liam O’Brien made a couple of crucial saves in quick succession to keep the scores level.
And the Canaries eventually broke the deadlock with 20 minutes left to play as Tearle scrambled the ball home through a crowd of bodies.
O’Brien made another excellent save at the death to keep the Bards in the contest before Ebanks registered the home side’s only shot on target in injury time with a scuffed effort into the keeper’s arms.
Stratford are next in action at home to Mickleover on Saturday, November 4 with kick-off at 3pm at the Arden Garages Stadium.