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Hitchin Town 3 Chippenham Town 2

Saturday, August 26 2006

THE reaction at the end of this exciting game demonstrated relief as much as jubilation. For the first time this season, Hitchin’s effort was rewarded with points, against one of the Southern League title favourites.

Chippenham were deservedly beaten and striker Chris Dillon was the hero of the hour - underlining what a good piece of pre-season shopping manager Darren Salton did when he persuaded him to return to Top Field.

Two defeats had done little to damage Hitchin’s confidence and they started well, with Dillon having a tame effort cleared off the line by Alex Stanley. It did not take long for Dillon to open his account for the season, however, flicking the ball home from a Daniel French cross after five minutes.

Wayne Mills and Shane Hill both went close before Chippenham equalised after 22 minutes. A free kick from Ross Adams was headed across goal by Adam Garner and transfer target David Gilroy volleyed into the net from six yards.

Dillon, ever dangerous, could have restored Hitchin’s lead just before the interval, but bulky Bluebirds’ keeper Steve Perrin saved his shot.

Shane Hill powers forward 

Shane Hill powers forward

Gilroy should have put his team in front in the 50th minute when he took advantage of a bad clearance but shot into the side-netting. This was a let-off for the Canaries but within 60 seconds, Daniel French gave Darren Salton’s side the lead once more, shooting low into the net after a loose ball rolled out of

French and Dillon, both of whom were giving Chippenham a difficult afternoon, combined to create a chance for the latter, but Perrin came to the visitors’ rescue again.

Hitchin extended their lead in the 73rd minute from the penalty spot. Dillon was upended by defender Ian Herring and his spot-kick gave Perrin no chance. Three minutes later, Chippenham pulled a goal back when substitute Alan Griffin finished from close range after Michael Parkin had failed to clear the ball.

But there were further chances for Hitchin, notably from Dillon and who had two opportunities to claim the matchball. And in the dying seconds, Parkin pulled off a superb one-handed stop from Griffin as Chippenham went for a last ditch equaliser.

Hitchin Town: Parkin, Frater, Ducket, Hammonds, Folds, Deeney, Hill (Bridge 65), Ross (G.Lamacraft h/t), Dillon, Mills, French

Chippenham: Perrin, Robertson (Griffin 62), Stanley, Adams, Garner, Badman (Seavill 59), Holly, Herring, Gilroy, Allison, Halliday (Milson 62)

Referee: P.Forrester

Attendance: 301

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