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Aylesbury Utd 4 Hitchin Town 3

Wednesday, August 18 2004

Hitchin were within a whisker of completing a dramatic comeback at Aylesbury, losing by the odd goal in seven against one of their more local rivals in this season's Southern League Premier Division.

Three goals behind on the hour, the Canaries missed an 88th minute penalty that would have given them a 4-4 draw, Stuart Maynard's spot-kick being pushed aside by home goalkeeper Jack Rashid.

It could have been another good night for Hitchin if they had capitalised on a bright start that saw them take an 11th minute lead. Maynard, who created both of his side's goals on Saturday, sent a free kick into the area and skipper Paul Covington headed crisply into the net.

Darran Hay and Josh Sozzo both had good chances to add to Covington's goal as Hitchin dominated the opening stages. But in the 24th minute, Aylesbury equalised when Paul Lamb shot home from inside the area. The home side grew in confidence and survived a Josh Sozzo missed open goal when the Hitchin striker tried to chip Rashid but sent his effort onto the roof of the goal.

But by half-time Aylesbury had taken the lead, Paul Edgeworth taking advantage of a quickly-taken free kick and rounding Neil Cheek to fire high into the net.

Jaggard missed a good chance in the early minutes of the second half, but two goals in four minutes cemented Aylesbury's lead. In the 55th minute, Neil Champelovoir rounded a defender before slotting a third goal and four
minutes later, Leon Gutzmore received the ball on the far side of the area and picked his spot. Seconds later, Gutzmore struck a post as Hitchin floundered.

Against the odds, Hitchin dragged themselves back into the game, and in the 67th minute, Jaggard crossed for Hay to produce a textbook header for the Canaries second goal.

Hay, who had an outstanding game, was rewarded again in the 74th minute, receiving Jaggard's pass and turning to shoot
past Rashid.

With two minutes remaining, Sozzo was brought down by Rashid and the referee handed Hitchin the chance of drawing level. Sadly, Maynard's kick was saved and all hope was gone. Hitchin returned home knowing that they had more than one opportunity of adding to the three points they gained at the expense of Hednesford three days earlier.

Hitchin: Cheek, Barr, Kidd, Covington, McCulloch, Lamacraft (Bridge 61), Cavill (Galvin 82), Maynard, Hay, Sozzo, Jaggard



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