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Chesham United 3 Hitchin Town 1

Wednesday, September 8 2004

Four of Hitchin's senior players sat in the stand and watched their team-mates defeated for the fourth time in eight games. The absence of experienced players at a key stage of the season is a problem the Canaries have to contend with.

As manager Kerry Dixon has repeatedly said, Hitchin need to have a fully fit squad all the time, the quartet of players, since arriving at Top Field early in 2004, have rarely been fit as a unit.

If the likes of Sozzo, Covington, Jaggard and Hay had been available for selection, Hitchin would probably have picked up a third consecutive win. For most of the second half, Hitchin dominated a workmanlike Chesham side, but a final minute goal gave the home side a comfortable three points.

Hitchin were warned of the spot-kick prowess of John Lawford, but in the11th minute, a handball incident gave Lawford the chance to open the scoring. He duly despatched his sixth penalty of the season. In the 28th minute Chesham extended their lead, Peter Clifford scoring easily at the far post following a corner.

Three minutes later, though, Gordon Barr's through ball was met by Stuart Maynard, who volleyed crisply into the net. Just before the break, Aaron Cavill squeezed his way into the area and Hitchin felt that there were two justifiable claims for a penalty, one a handball and the other the foul that brought down the midfielder.

In the second half, Hitchin camped in the Chesham half, but apart from a shot by Barr that was saved by Jamie Jackson, chances were at a premium. It was left to Lawford to provide the final touch, a 90th minute header from Chris Herron's cross - precisely the sort of chance that the Canaries walking wounded would have snapped up.

Hitchin: Wilmot, Barr, Duffy, Burke, McCulloch, Scott, Cavill, Maynard, McMenamin (Hassan 64), Bridge, Case (Johnson 83)

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