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Bath City 1 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, December 9 2006

Hitchin's best ever Southern League away win was overshadowed by injuries to two players, one on each side, but the result's importance may not be fully realised until the end of the season.

The Canaries moved into the play-off zone after deservedly beating the league leaders, demonstrating that after three successive defeats, there is plenty of character in Darren Saltonís side.

Salton had rejigged his defence in midweek and despite losing to Bishopís Stortford, he was satisfied that some of his teamís shortcomings had been resolved. His gamble paid off, for Hitchin looked solid and confident against arguably the biggest club in the Southern League.

Hitchin were not phased by playing front of one of the most demanding of crowds. Chris Dillon had two early chances as the game swung from end to end.
In the 24th minute, however, Hitchin took the lead, Daniel French running through and beating Paul Evans with great composure.

Hitchin could have extended their lead in the 30th minute when a long kick by Rob Beckwith just failed to connect with Josh Sozzo. The slightest touch would surely have sent the ball into net.

Bath equalised, however, in the 37th minute through Scott Partridge, who finished at the far post after a cross by Matt Coupe.

At the start of the second half, Hitchin came under strong pressure and Rob Beckwith prevented the home side from taking the lead. Bathís recent signing Jason Edwards was denied by the Canaries custodian and then Stuart Hammonds cleared another effort of the line. But at the other end, Liam Folds saw a header sail just wide.

Hitchin regained the lead after 72 minutes with a superb piece of football. Rob Miller, who had an excellent game, fed French and his cross was finished off by Dillon at the far post.

In the 78th minute, French was badly injured and was stretchered off with his leg in splints. The injury was perhaps not as bad as early suggestions, but he will be out of action for some weeks.

This was closely followed by an injury to Bath substitute Craig Davidge, who collided with a wall and was taken from the ground, after a 30 minute hold up, by ambulance.
When the game resumed, with both teams now cold, Hitchin held on to win.

Celebrations were muted, but the good news is both injured players were not as badly hurt as first feared.

Hitchin: Beckwith, Frater, Gentle-King, Hammonds, Folds, Deeney, Williams, Miller, Dillon, Sozzo (Jaggard 73), French (Ducket 80)

Bath: Evans, Rollo, Green, Coupe, Holland, Jones, Rogers, Hogg, Edwards, Partridge (Davidge 73 - Zarczynski 82)

Attendance: 609

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