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Banbury United 2 Hitchin Town 3

Monday, August 28 2006

THERE cannot have been more dramatic finales to a game than the 90th minute of Hitchin’s 3-2 win at Banbury. That was when Daniel French’s corner sailed into the net, stunning the home crowd who quickly made their exit from the Spencer Stadium.

Canaries manager Darren Salton claimed afterwards that the result was the "first bit of luck I have had as manager". Salton was being too gracious in victory, though, for Hitchin deserved to win on the strength of their second half performance. To be fair to Banbury, though, they could also claim they should have won as substitute Stuart Bridges struck the crossbar six minutes from the end.

As a game, this was an exciting advertisement for British Gas Premier football. Hitchin’s first half performance didn’t match their two previous games, though, and Banbury took a 10th minute lead from Ollie Stanbridge.

Banbury’s Darren Pond had three first half chances to add to their lead. Towards the end of the half, Hitchin started assert some pressure, with Andy Ross going close with a high shot.

Liam Folds goes close

Liam Folds goes close

At half-time, Salton brought on Gavin Jaggard and his arrival sparked off a dramatic recovery. Within six minutes. Jaggard had equalised, tapping the ball in after goalkeeper Milan Barisic had pushed Daniel French’s cross onto the woodwork.

But Hitchin were level for only five minutes. A shot from Andy Baird was parried by Michael Parkin and the loose ball found Howard Forinton who shot into the net.

In the 65th minute, Hitchin conjured up another equaliser. A long throw by Mark Ducket bounced invitingly for Wayne Mills and he headed over hapless keeper Barisic. For a small player, Mills had excelled himself this season, scoring two goals with his head.

Four minutes later, David Deeney weaved his way through but was blocked as he shaped to shoot. Hitchin, by now, were looking the dominant side and the likely winners.

As the play switched from end to end, though, Banbury also looked dangerous and in the 84th minute, Bridges powered a shot over Parkin but onto the crossbar.

It was a let off for the Canaries, but the drama was not over. With less than 30 seconds remaining, French sent a corner over Barisic to give Hitchin a confidence boosting win.

Hitchin celebrate the winning goal

Hitchin celebrate the winning goal

Banbury: Barisic, Blossom, Robinson, Sullivan (Nicholls 90), Hayward, Pond, Stanbridge (Bridges 78), Redknap, Forinton, Baird, Kinch

Hitchin: Parkin, Frater (Cretton 83), Ducket, Hammonds, Folds, Deeney, Hill (Jaggard h/t), Ross, Dillon (Bridge 90), Mills, French

Attendance: 406

Referee: K.Haines

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