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Merthyr Tydfil 1 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, April 16 2005

Hitchinís battle to stay in the Southern League Premier received a boost at Merthyr as the Canaries more than matched the play-off chasing Welshmen.

Ironically, it was a player of Welsh descent that earned Hitchin a much-needed point. Iuean Lewis netted the equaliser for the Canaries 20 minutes from time and Darren Saltonís young side could even have come home with all three points.

Hitchinís quest for points was helped by the fact that Merthyrís form is indifferent and their ability to score goals is limited. In an even first half, Richard Wilmot had to make one comfortable save from the home sideís most dangerous attacker Ė full back Gethin Jones.

The best chance of the half arguably fell to Hitchin, a header by James Ayres from a corner.

Although the Canaries started the second half with renewed confidence, it was Merthyr that took the lead after 55 minutes, a far post header from Jones following a cross from Danny Carter. Seconds later, Jones tried to add to his goal by attempting a long-range chip over Wilmot, but the Hitchin goalkeeper recovered just in time.

Hitchinís free kickís and corners caused problems for Merthyr and from one of these, Matt Baldry headed wide with the goal at his mercy.

An equaliser was not long in coming, and it was a well crafted affair. Bilal Hassan sent over a cross, Mark Bridge flicked the ball on and Lewis was on hand to volley high into the net.

Hitchin pushed forward for a winner, but in the end, they had to to be thankful for a couple of goalline clearances at the other end and the form of Wilmot. Salton and his team were nevertheless pleased with a point.

Hitchin: Wilmot, Smith, McMenamin, Ayres, McCulloch, Baldry (Kidd 69), Hassan, Cavill, Sozzo, Lewis (Mills 80), Bridge

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