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Cirencester Town 3 Hitchin Town 1

Sunday, January 30 2005

The Canaries could claim, with some justification that they deserved more than they got at Cirencester, and even in the final minutes, they could have come home with a point from the Corinium.

Manager Darren Salton, dubbed "the new Mourinho" by the press, claimed that his side's first half performance was the best he had seen since he took over in December. Certainly the energy and commitment shown by his players suggested that a seventh away win was on the cards.

Iuean Lewis again demonstrated that he is a player rich in potential, and in the opening stages, his running and aggression caused Cirencester problems. "It's a privilege to work with a young player like Iuean," said Salton, knowing that his future will be decided elsewhere.

For the time being, however, Lewis is with Hitchin, and on more than one occasion, he threatened to open the scoring. But it was the home side that went ahead in the 39th minute with a spectacular finish by Gary Wotton. It came just as Matt Baldry had to leave the field as a corner was being taken. The ball sailed across the area and was partially cleared by Mark Smith, only for Wotton to hit a first time shot past Neil Cheek.

Four minutes later, Hitchin equalised with a quite spectacular goal. Josh Sozzo picked the ball up midway in the Cirencester half and hit a 35-yard shot that dipped over the head of goalkeeper Mark Bryant. Hitchin fans are unlikely to see a better goal this season.

Hitchin's tails were clearly up when they went in at half-time, but they were rarely as convincing in the second period. The goal that restored Cirencester's lead was a bizarre effort. Both Wotton and Adi Viveash appeared to take a swipe at the ball, but it was Viveash who sent a deflected volley spinning over Cheek and into the net.

Salton's men responded well, with Shane Hill's shot being charged down by a Cirencester hand ? no penalty given ? and Lewis and Aaron Cavill both having good chances to level. With five minutes to go, Sozzo got the faintest of touches on a through-ball that went into the side-netting.

In the last minute, Cirencester grabbed a third goal, with Ben Fitch beating the offside trap and rounding Cheek to slot home. It was rough justice on the Canaries, but there was little wrong with this performance. "If we had played like we did in the first half all game, we would surely have got at least a point," insisted Salton.

Hitchin: Cheek, Baldry, McMenamin, Smith, Ayres, Cavill, Lamacraft, Hill, Sozzo, Lewis, Hassan

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