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Hitchin Town 3 Banbury United 3

Saturday, April 5 2008

There has been no lack of entertainment in the past few weeks at Hitchin, and this game, despite not providing the optimal result for the Canaries, was no exception.

Fortunately for Hitchin, few of their relegation zone rivals were able to make ground on them, but Darran Hay's side can ill-afford to be so generous in defence as they were against Banbury United.

It was a whirlwind start, with Paul Barnes heading Hitchin into a third minute lead from David Deeney's free kick. Within 55 seconds, Banbury equalised, Nicky Gordon weaving his way past two defenders before setting up Craig Pearman who slotted home from six yards.

Hitchin came back immediately, regaining the lead 40 seconds later, Mark Barnes volleying over goalkeeper Joe Murrell after a long ball forward. Hitchin looked menacing every time they attacked, but at the same time, looked vulnerable when Banbury broke.

Banbury drew level once more after 25 minutes, Gordon beating Hitchin's offside trap and running through to shoot past Martin Bennett from the edge of the penalty area.

In a complete turnaround, Banbury took the lead for the first time in the 39th minute when Bennett and Mark Smith were caught in confusion, challenged by Troy Bryan and the ball ran loose to Gordon who rolled the ball into the net.

Hitchin came out in the second half in a determined mood, but it wasn't until the 61st minute that they equalised. Tom Pepper played the ball across field to substitute Kaan Fehmi and he fed Ieuan Lewis on the flank. Lewis cut inside and drove a low shot past Murrell.

Hay's men went in search of a winner, and it was Fehmi who provided the impetus the Canaries needed. He went close on three occasions, starting with a header that went wide following a corner and then a volley that was just wide. Then, in the dying seconds, he shot across the face of goal.

Hitchin: Bennett, Deeney, Pepper, Williams, Stevenson, Smith, Lewis, Barr (Fehmi 56), P.Barnes, M.Barnes (Hay 79), Ducket

Banbury: Murrell, Bridges, Kinch, Essex, Baird, Fuller, Blossom, Williams, Bryan (Milner 73), Gordon, Pearman

Attendance: 364

Referee: P.McCaul

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