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Hitchin Town 4 Northwood 2

Tuesday, August 16 2005

Hitchin fans have a new hero after the Canaries won their first league game since February and their first home fixture since late January.

Thomas Hayes, who joined Hitchin in the summer, marked his home debut with a hat-trick inside an hour and did enough to suggest that Darren Salton has found the ideal striking partner for Josh Sozzo.

Hitchin showed their character once more, coming from behind to win the game, although Salton and his assistant Ken Gillard will have concerns about some of their team's defensive play.

In fact it was from a defensive slip-up that Northwood took an 11th minute lead through Peter Dean. The Canaries recovered well, however, and a nicely worked free kick by Chris McMenamin, finding the head of James Ayres, landing well for Hayes to rifle home his first goal on 22 minutes.

McMenamin was instrumental in Hayes' second goal in the 38th minute. An inswinging cross was met by Hayes who, on the run, rolled the ball around goalkeeper Lee Carroll and slotted into the net. Hitchin enjoyed their best spell either side of half-time and Sozzo, who worked tirelessly all night, went close with a header just after the break.

In the 61st minute, Sozzo flicked the ball on the for Hayes and he ran clear of the Northwood defence to secure his hat-trick. But from that moment, Hitchin sat back and Northwood pressed continuously. Dean hit a post and Daniel Grieves, who had also hit the woodwork early on, headed wide of Richard Wilmot's goal. The Hitchin goalkeeper pulled of a spectacular save from a corner and then denied Dean.

Ten minutes from time, Northwood were awarded a penalty for a foul on Chris Gell and Shayne Demetrious netted from the spot. There were some nervous moments until the third minute of added time when Hayes combined with Sozzo and the Canaries skipper fired home his team's fourth goal.It was no more than Sozzo deserved for a busy 90 minutes.

Salton was pleased with the way his side came back to win and also with the burgeoning partnership between his strikers. "Tonight they were awesome," he said. "And I think they will get better as their understanding develops."

Hitchin: Wilmot, Lamacraft, Ducket, Baldry, Ayres, McMenamin, Cavill, Mills, Sozzo, Hayes, French (Duffy 70)

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