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Hitchin Town 1 Grays Athletic 0

Saturday, January 24 2004

Hitchin’s revival continued against high-flying Grays with by far the club’s best performance of the season. For the fourth game running, the Canaries’ players were given a standing ovation, and after such a battling display against one of the league’s monied clubs, who could blame the supporters?

"The spirit is tremendous and its having an impact throughout the club," said manager Kerry Dixon after his side had risen to 12th place in the league. "We’re going to lose some games, but these lads gave 100% today and everyone is responding to that."

Dixon was beaming with pride at his side’s performance. On a sticky pitch, Hitchin matched a Grays side packed with talent. The first half had few highlights, but Hitchin’s total commitment was obvious from the first minute, with Josh Sozzo’s running causing problems for the Grays defence.

Hitchin had a let off though in the 53rd minute when Martin Carthy’s shot rolled through the mud and hit the post when he looked certain to score. Just before that incident, Richard Wilmot saved at the feet of Freddie Eastwood. In the 65th minute, Hitchin opened the scoring with Mark Bridge’s fifth goal in three games. A corner by Mark Coulson rolled across the area and Bridge slid the ball into the net despite the presence of several Grays players.

Bridge has been a revelation in the past few weeks. He has always been a committed front runner but now he is getting the goals that his effort deserved.

Hitchin were put under pressure from thereon, but Jon Bone saved the day with a clearance from under the crossbar and Wilmot was at his best all afternoon.

But the Canaries could have had another goal six minutes from time when Sozzo set up returning midfielder Ian Scott, but after running 30 yards to get into position, Scott blasted over the bar.

Hitchin: Wilmot, Childs, Hutton (Duffy 31), Frater (Burke 80), Bone, Scott, Sozzo, Nicholl, Bridge (Hay 68), Coulson, Maynard





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