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Hitchin Town 1 Merthyr Tydfil 0

Saturday, March 24 2007

It may not have been the most exhilarating game seen at Top Field this season but Hitchin's 1-0 win against Merthyr may be the most vital three points the Canaries will pick up.

Darren Salton's men have been in freefall for weeks and have lost half their team in the process. But a spirited performance, a visible improvement on the previous home game against Banbury, was enough to see off a lack lustre Merthyr team.

The only goal came from the penalty spot, however, which raises increasing concerns about Hitchin’s firepower. The Canaries have scored just one goal in open play in 11 league games and that was scored by now departed striker Chris Dillon.

There were plus points for Hitchin in the form of goalkeeper Rob Beckwith and teenage striker Scott Orphanou, who ran tirelessly all afternoon.

Merthyr opened well and had two chances before Hitchin found their rhythm. Chris Collins had a shot blocked by Beckwith and Craig Lima had a header that sailed just over the bar.

Orphanou’s determination led to Hitchin being awarded a 12th minute penalty. From his challenge, Merthyr defender Darren Davies handled in the area and Martin Standen netted from the penalty spot for the second consecutive home game.

Merthyr almost levelled on the stroke of half-time with a shot from Craig Moses that was pushed onto the post by Beckwith.

In the early minutes of the second half, Gary Wharton went close with a header and a free kick by Davies was well handled by Beckwith. Tony Bird also tested Beckwith a first time shot from the edge of the area.

Hitchin failed to trouble the Merthyr defence for most of the 90 minutes but the points were welcome and may just be enough to keep them away from danger.

Hitchin: Beckwith, Childs, A.Scanlon, Cretton, Frater, Deeney (P.Scanlon 73), Williams (Pugh 52), Lamacraft, Standen, Jaggard (Cunnington 62), Orphanou

Merthyr: Morris, S.Williams, Davies, Lima, Wharton, Rewberry, Kift (Glassey 62), Collins, Bird (Griffiths 83), Moses, Carpenter (James 77)

Attendance: 251

Referee: N.Hair

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