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Bognor Regis Town 2 Hitchin Town 0

Sunday, April 25 2004

Just when Hitchin needed a good result to bolster their play-off chances, they put in one of their worst displays of the season.

Bognor were more than two goals better than the Canaries on a sweltering afternoon. But for an inspired performance by goalkeeper Richard Wilmot, Hitchin would have been on the end of a trouncing. Now it's all down to the final game of the season and if Hitchin beat Braintree, they have a chance of Conference South football via the play-offs.

Early on at Bognor, Hitchin had a couple of half chances through Matt Childs and Darran Hay, but it was the flowing football of the home side that caught the eye.

But it was not until the 41st minute that Bognor took the lead through their impressive striker Matt Russell. He took advantage of some poor defending to burst through from the halfway line and rounded Wilmot to score.

Five minutes after the interval, Russell scored again, forcing the ball home after Wilmot had failed to hold a high ball. Then it was a case of Bognor versus the Hitchin keeper as they threatened to swamp the Canaries.

Russell almost claimed his hat-trick when he just failed to connect with a low and fast cross by full back David Piper and the tall striker was also denied by Wilmot when he caught his chipped shot.

Wilmot was called into action again when he saved from Michael Birmingham and once more Russell went close when he tried to round the keeper but saw his effort smothered.

At the other end, a late rally by Hitchin almost paid dividends, Stuart Lochhead shot over from close range and Hay made a chance for himself that was tipped over by Bognor goalkeeper Craig Stoner.

Hitchin: Wilmot, Neill, McElroy, Childs, Covington, Evans, Sozzo (Hassan 79), Lamacraft, Hay, Maynard (Mills 70), Lochhead




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