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Northwood 1 Hitchin Town 0

Saturday, August 30 2003

The unpredictable nature of football means that a team riding high can often be unseated by a side that hitherto has struggled, and at Northwood on Saturday, this was clearly the case.

Hitchin lost their unbeaten record to a team that had managed one point from their first four games, and to make matters worse, that team was reduced to 10 men just after the interval.

Robbie O’Keefe’s men know that they did not do themselves justice at Northwood, despite dominating for long periods, having far more shots than the home side and almost doubling their corner count for the season.

It started well for Hitchin, but the best they could muster up in the first half was a 28th minute shot by Adam Parker that grazed the outside of a post. Northwood came more into the game in the latter stages of the first half and David Yeoman and Chris Moore both went close to scoring.

Throughout the first half, a series of niggling challenges suggested that Northwood were not going to stand aside and let Hitchin produce flowing football. In the 47th minute, the game boiled over when Ian Bates was red-carded after a bad challenge on Ian Scott.

But Hitchin failed to capitalise on the one man advantage although a header from James Ayres was cleared off the line by Yeoman.

In the 65th minute, Northwood’s teamwork and commitment paid dividends in the form of a goal. A Hitchin attack broke down and the ball was sent upfield to Kieran Knight, who shrugged aside two defenders before sending his shot in off the post.

Hitchin pushed forward and dominated the remainder of the game, but they looked over anxious and the final ball was often poorly delivered. For all their posession, the Northwood goalkeeper Bullivant was not seriously tested. Midfielder James Osborn had several chances to score, but failed to get a shot on target.

In the dying minutes, Matt Nolan headed just wide of the goal and a succession of crosses didn’t quite find their man. On any other day, the scoreline might have been different, but on this occasion, Hitchin’s luck was definitely out.

Hitchin: Graham Childs (McElroy 90), Rydeheard, Frater, Ayres (Maynard 85), Scott, Bone (Williams 60), Osborn, Douglas, Parker, Nolan

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