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Tiverton Town 1 Hitchin Town 3

Sunday, October 24 2004

Hitchin moved up to the dizzy heights of sixth place after their well deserved victory at Tiverton - their second successive win and firm evidence that the Canaries are getting used to life in the Southern League.

Darran Hay and Richard Wilmot, two players who have seen it all in the non-league game, were the most influential figures on the pitch. While Hay netted twice, Wilmot prevented Tiverton from grabbing a late equaliser before Hitchin’s other scorer, Josh Sozzo, secured the three points.

To quote Lou Reed’s classic song, this was a "Perfect Day" for the Canaries, who had to endure a five-hour journey for their first ever trip to Devon. Amid the picturesque yet rain-sodden Tiverton ground, Hitchin showed no signs of travel fatigue.

In the 28th minute, Wilmot and Hay combined to send Hitchin into the lead. Wilmot sent a long clearance into the Tiverton half, Hay ran on and coolly beat former Luton goalkeeper Mark Ovendale. But six minutes later, Tiverton were level, Kesie Ibe shooting home after a clever back-heel from leading scorer Jamie Mudge.

After the break, Hitchin had an early chance when Aaron Cavill shot across the face of goal, and at the other end, Wilmot was at his best to stop Mudge and Kevin Wills.
Hitchin regained the lead, however, when a cross by Gordon Barr found Hay and his textbook header did the rest.

Shaun Goof went close shortly afterwards for the home side, but Sozzo could also have got on the scoresheet with a header.

Three minutes from time, Premiership referee Dermott Gallagher awarded Tiverton a penalty following a handball by Paul Covington. But Wilmot dived to his right to save Mudge’s kick and the rebound was cleared from danger. The action switched to the Tiverton end and after Bilal Hassan demonstrated great determination, the ball ran to Sozzo, who buried the ball past Ovendale for Hitchin’s third goal.

In truth, a draw would not have been a just result, but Sozzo, who is rapidly regaining his form, put paid to Tiverton’s hopes.

Hitchin: Wilmot, Barr, Old, Smith, McCulloch, Cavill, Sozzo, Covington, Hay (Hassan 85), Jaggard, Bridge

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