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Aylesbury Utd 1 Hitchin Town 4

Saturday, January 17 2004

After weeks in the doldrums, Hitchin’s youngsters are doing their level best to start a new era at Top Field under manager Kerry Dixon.

An excellent team performance, the best since Dixon took over, lifted the Canaries to within distance of the top 13, their highest placing for weeks.

But Hitchin were up against poor opponents who had their noses rubbed in the dirt by former player Josh Sozzo, who joined Dixon’s squad in midweeek.

Sozzo was a revelation, scoring twice and creating Hitchin’s opener in the 22nd minute. His cross to Mark Bridge was headed home to give the tireless young striker his first league goal for the Canaries.

In the 33rd minute, Sozzo opened his account, controlling a Rory Hutton cross and shooting home from just inside the penalty area, despite pleas from the home side for handball. Sozzo extended Hitchin’s lead in the 49th minute, a deflected shot after being set up by Bridge.

Mark Coulson and Ryan Nicholl both had chances to add to Aylesbury’s woe, but their shots were off target. Nicholl, who came on as substitute for the injured Paul Covington, had an impressive game, as did flame-haired wide-man Jim Duffy.

In the 74th minute, a free kick from Coulson was met by the unmarked Bridge and his header sailed into the net to give Hitchin a 4-0 lead. Few players work as hard as Bridge, so his two goals were fitting reward for so many near-misses in recent weeks.

Hitchin goalkeeper Richard Wilmot had his easiest afternoon since joining the club, but in stoppage time, he could only parry a free kick from Nadim Alhtar to Jamie Moss, who shot into the net from close range. A clean sheet would have been nice, but at least Hitchin had the satisfaction of recording their first win at Aylesbury since 1937-38.

Hitchin: Wilmot, Childs, Hutton, Frater, Bone, Covington (Nicholl 17), Sozzo (Hay 70), Duffy (McElroy 75), Bridge, Coulson, Maynard

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