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Hitchin Town 4 Wealdstone 2

Tuesday, September 5 2006

Hitchin demonstrated character and determination in abundance as they extended their unbeaten run to four games and climbed to sixth place in the BGB Premier Divison after beating Wealdstone.

This game was 90 minutes of exciting entertainment and with a season-best crowd of 374 inside the ground, there was no better time for the Canaries to put on a good show.

But they had to overcome an early setback against a fast-moving and enterprising Wealdstone side. Only four minutes had gone when Chris O’Leary volleyed the visitors ahead from a cross by veteran defender Fergus Moore.

Indeed, Wealdstone looked the better side in the early stages and might have extended their lead when Kevin Swift headed wide as the Hitchin defence opened up before him.

Chris Dillon and David Deeney both had chances to level the scores, but in the 28th minute, the game turned on its head. Dillon – inevitably - netted Hitchin’s equaliser, shooting home after Wayne Mills had squared the ball to him. Within 60 seconds, Daniel French put Hitchin in front following a cross by Carl Williams that goalkeeper John Armand punched back invitingly for the Canaries winger.

The scoring wasn’t over in the first half, however. The impressive Graeme Montgomery’s left-foot shot from just inside the area was turned into his own net by Stuart Hammonds after 35 minutes.

The second half saw the Wealdstone threat evaporate, but Hitchin goalkeeper Michael Parkin had to pull off a good save from Matthew Gooderick just after the break. Hitchin by now had gained some fresh impetus by the introduction of Gavin Jaggard, and as before at Banbury, his contribution was significant.

Jaggard missed a good chance after Dillon had threaded the ball through to him, but in the 63rd minute, he made amends with Hitchin’s third goal. Deeney’s through ball rolled kindly for Jaggard and he steadied himself before shooting past Armand.

There were further chances for Darren Salton’s side, notably when Dillon’s header was kept out by Armand, and when Ducket’s shot was blocked as he powered forward.

In the fifth minute of added time, Hitchin sealed the points when Ducket sent a  sublime free kick into the corner of the net.

Three wins from six games represents a good start to the season for Hitchin, particularly given the daunting nature of the first three or four games. Salton and his assistant, Ken Gillard, are smiling – and so are the Hitchin fans.

Hitchin: Parkin, Pugh, Ducket, Hammonds, Folds, Deeney, Williams, Ross (G.Lamacraft 55), Dillon, Mills (Jaggard 55), French

Wealdstone: Armand, Holland (Christian 73), Moore (Goodall 82), Swift, S.Bamford, G.Bamford, Martin, O’Leary (Papali 73), Lawrence, Gooderick, Montgomery

Referee: M.Cairns

Attendance: 374


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