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St Albans City 1 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, August 23 2003

Clarence Park is rapidly becoming one of Hitchin’s favourite away venues after the Canaries completed their third successive victory at St.Albans on Saturday.

And what a win! For 90 minutes, Hitchin looked by far the better side on view, controlling an expensive St.Albans team that lacked co-ordination and the hunger to compete. Hitchin’s third win, maintaining their 100% record, was enough to send them to the top of the embryonic league table for the first time in four years.

They got the perfect start to this game, with a goal after five minutes. A back-pass by Deryk Brown was handled by goalkeeper Richard Wilmot and from the free kick inside the area, James Osborn sidefooted to James Ayres and he blasted his shot through a crowded penalty area.

St.Albans had little answer to the Canaries opener and it took 43 minutes for them to muster up a chance, a near post shot by Miguel DeSouza that was wide of the target. Hitchin, however, could have built up a commanding lead, with Craig Rydeheard going close with three shots across goal.

But it was the veteran DeSouza who levelled for St.Albans in the 52nd minute, finishing off a good move involving Mark Graham. For a while, the home side was in the ascendancy, but the locals were silenced in the 67th minute when Hitchin regained the lead.

Matt Nolan received the ball from a corner, turned and sent over a cross that deceived the outstretched arms of Wilmot. Douglas, who had his best game in Hitchin colours, bundled the ball over the line, despite the presence of two defenders.

Douglas could have made better use of another opportunity when he found himself clear on goal just after he had scored, but he hesitated and St.Albans’ defence was able to deal with his cross.

With time running out, Hitchin had the chance to put a more realistic slant on the scoreline when substitute Carl Williams was felled in the penalty area. From the spotkick, though, James Osborn shot against the post.

There were some nerves towards the end, but James Robinson preserved Hitchin’s lead when he dived at the feet of Simon Martin. Anything other than three points for Ian Donnelly’s men would have been rough justice.

Hitchin: Robinson, Childs, Rydeheard, Frater, Ayres, Scott, Osborn, Bone (Williams 63), Douglas, Nolan, Dillon (Maynard 82)




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