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Hitchin Town 2 Billericay Town 5

Saturday, December 20 2003

The Hitchin condition was well and truly underlined to the clubís supporters on Saturday, when bottom-place Billericay trounced the Canaries at Top Field.

In a game that was a catalogue of defensive errors, Hitchinís side, shorn of its best players, looks like spending the New Year in the relegation zone, such is the lack of confidence and creativity. And to make matters worse, they will be without midfielder James Osborn for the rest of the season after he sustained a badly broken leg in the third minute of the game.

Hitchin fell behind after 20 minutes when the first of those errors, committed by Ryan Frater, allowed Danny Hockton to chip the ball into the net. Hitchin responded with a good shot on the turn by Leeyon Phelan and an effort by new on-loan signing Rory Hutton that went into the side-netting.

Billericay had chances to extend their lead, but two goals in the space of five minutes at the start of the second half killed off Hitchin. Hocktonís 46th minute cross to the far post was swept home by Leon Hunter and four minutes later, Hockton was upended and converted a penalty to put Billericay well in command.

But the Canaries mounted something of a mini-revival. In the 61st minute, Stuart Maynardís free kick was headed into the net by Carl Drew. And seven minutes later, a fine left-foot corner by another of Hitchinís on-loan new boys, Mark Coulson, went straight into the net.

Billericay had to hang on for a few minutes, but in the 81st minute, another defensive error, this time by goalkeeper Richard Wilmot, allowed Hockton the chance to clinch his hat-trick. The former Stevenage striker also hit the crossbar later on as Hitchin all but crumbled.

In stoppage time, Jordan Tolan added insult to injury when he capitalised on a mistake by James Ayres and shot low past Wilmot. This was a day to forget for Hitchin, and on the evidence of this performance, there may be more days like these before signs of progress emerge from Top Field.

Hitchin: Wilmot, Childs, Hutton (Rydeheard 74), Frater, Ayres, Evans (Mills 56), Williams, Phelan, Drew, Osborn (Coulson 4), Maynard

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