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Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Hitchin Town 3

Saturday, January 1 2005

Hitchin demonstrated great character in bouncing back from their Christmas mauling at the hands of Bedford and earned three valuable points at Hemel on New Year's Day.

Judging by the opening quarter of an hour, however, the Canaries were still stuck in New Year's Eve mode. But a strong recovery after going a goal down surprised the home side who had clearly had their tails up in the first half.

Matt Corbould and Grant Carney both had early chances for Hemel, but it was not until the 15th minute that Hitchin fell behind. An inch-perfect cross by George Fowler found the head of Carney, whose header crept beneath Richard Wilmot's body.

But 10 minutes later, Hitchin were level. Mark Bridge was upended by goalkeeper Martin Peat and from the penalty spot, Darren Hay netted with ease. Both sides could have taken the lead, with Aaron Cavill forcing Peat into a good save and Fowler running from deep to shot just past Wilmot's goal. Former Hitchin defender Tom Neill also went close, heading against the woodwork just before the break.

Five minutes into the second half, Hitchin went ahead with a spectacular finish from Matt Baldry. Hay created the opportunity, lining the ball up for Baldry to hit a first time shot into the top corner.

Wilmot kept Hitchin in front, saving an effort from Fowler with his feet and then blocking a shot from Richard Pringle. But the Canaries could have scored again when Hay met Kevin Evans's cross, only to see Peat save his shot. Bilal Hassan, in a one-on-one situation was also denied by Peat.

Baldry added a third for Hitchin 11 minutes from time with a shot that took a deflection before finding the net. And in stoppage time, Neill scored for Hemel with a diving header to make the final seconds a little twitchy.

Hitchin: Wilmot, Old, Hutton (Evans 25), Smith, Covington, Baldry, Cavill, Barr, Hay, Bridge, Hassan



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