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Halesowen Town 1 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, August 13 2005

Canaries manager Darren Salton was delighted with his team after they had earned a 1-1 draw at Halesowen. Salton’s men had almost snatched a victory at one of the more fancied teams in the Southern League Premier and the determination and industry was there for all to see."We’ve worked hard all through pre-season and today the lads showed a lot of character. I think we will get better as the season progresses," said Salton.

It was one of the old hands in the Hitchin side that scored the goal that brought the Canaries back into the game. Chris McMenamin, looking more trim than in previous seasons, netted a spectacular free kick and was the star performer on the pitch.

McMenamin and his midfield partner, new boy Jonathan Mills dominated the centre of the pitch and prevented the home side from finding their star striker Howard Forinton.

In fact, it was former Hitchin front-man Nathan Lamey that proved to be the biggest threat. Hitchin goalkeeper Richard Wilmot pulled off a good save from Lamey but was not seriously threatened in the first period. Another of Salton’s close-season captures, Thomas Hayes, went close to opening the scoring at the other end, but his speculative effort was headed away from danger with the goalkeeper stranded.

Halesowen took the lead in the 50th minute when James Ayres handled in the area. Steve Pope scored from the penalty spot, despite Wilmot’s best efforts. For a while, Hitchin lived dangerously with Lamey and Steve Farmer almost extending Halesowen’s lead. In the 65th minute, however, McMenamin flighted a delicate free kick past goalkeeper Chris Taylor, and then produced something that resembled a somersault to celebrate.

The Canaries finished the stronger of the two sides, with Mills sending a volley just wide and then Josh Sozzo forcing Taylor to push another goalbound shot over the bar.

The only downside was the plethora of yellow cards brandished by the over-zealous referee, who booked no less than seven players.

Hitchin Town: Wilmot, Lamacraft, Ducket, Baldry, Ayres, McMenamin, Cavill, Mills, Sozzo, Hayes (Bridge 84), French.

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