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Hitchin Town 2 Hednesford Town 1

Saturday, August 14 2004

Hitchin’s first-ever Southern League fixture ended in dramatic fashion with substitute Mark Bridge netting a 90th minute winner to beat title favourites and FA Trophy holders Hednesford Town.

For sheer persistence, you couldn’t fault Kerry Dixon’s side, who had to contend with some rough-arm tactics by the visitors. It was the perfect start for Hitchin in unfamiliar surroundings, but on the evidence of this showing, Dixon’s reshaped team can hold their own.

After a fast and furious start to the game, Hitchin took the lead after 19 minutes, Gavin Jaggard heading home from Stuart Maynard’s cross. But Hitchin were ahead for just three minutes, conceding an untidy goal from a Hednesford corner. The first attempt by Richard Teesdale was only partially cleared and as the ball bounced around the penalty area, Leo McSweeney headed into the net.

Although Hednesford upped the pace after scoring, they failed to seriously test the Hitchin defence. In fact Jaggard almost restored Hitchin’s lead when his shot inside the six-yard box was deflected for a corner.

In the early stages of the second half, Hednesford had a good chance to take control when David Berks’ free kick was only inches wide of Cheek’s goal.

Jaggard tried a speculative 25-yarder that was well-held by Ryan Young and at the other end, Lee Williams’s shot caused Cheek some difficulty.

With six minutes remaining, Sozzo was brought down in the penalty area after cleverly flicking the ball into the area. But the home side’s pleas for a spot-kick were ignored.

Hitchin’s determination paid off, however, and with the clock ticking into overtime, Maynard’s cross was headed on by Sozzo and Bridge, who had been on the pitch for 30 seconds, volleyed Hitchin’s winner.

After a summer of uncertainty and speculation, this was just what Hitchin needed!

Hitchin: Cheek, Barr, Kidd, Covington, McCulloch, Scott, Cavill, Maynard, Hay (Bridge 89), Sozzo, Jaggard

Attendance : 341




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