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Cirencester Town 2 Hitchin Town 3

Saturday, March 29 2008

The battle to stay in the BGB Premier took another twist with a set of results that went Hitchin's way and left people optimistic that the Canaries will steer clear of the bottom four. Indeed, a win at Cirencester - who surely have one foot in Division One - pushed Hitchin up to 15th, their highest position of the season.

By the time the Canaries play Banbury, however, the situation may have changed, but the manner in which Darran Hay's men beat Cirencester was far more convincing than the scoreline suggests.

The afternoon was more gruelling than the scoreline suggests. The 35 or so Hitchin fans that made the trip west had to endure some of the worst conditions of the season, swirling icy wind and incessant rain. They were rewarded by a lively display and a memorable hat-trick for young Mark Barnes.

Barely three minutes had gone when Barnes received the ball from Gordon Barr just inside the Cirencester half and slalomed his way past two defenders before shooting low into the net. That lead was doubled in the 14th minute when he took advantage of a poor back pass by Chris Collins and the fumbling of Matt Bulman to slot the ball home.

Cirencester responded with a header from Steve Robertson that was well saved by Martin Bennett and a volley from Nathan Haisley that was just over the bar, but that was the sum total of their threat in the first half.

Hitchin started the second half like a whirlwind, backed by the gale force behind them. In truth, they should have more than doubled their lead in the first 10 minutes of the half, Paul Barnes being denied twice and Mark Barnes seeing his angled drive well saved by Bulman.

In the 62nd minute, however, Cirencester pulled a goal back with a volley from Robertson, which introduced a little neurosis into the proceedings. But the Canaries gained some more breathing space in the 80th minute when Ieuan Lewis found Mark Barnes on the far side and he squeezed the ball into the net from an acute angle.

Cirencester came back with another goal in the 83rd minute, a tame shot from Matt Taylor.

Cirencester: Bulman, Collins, Weedon, Haisley, Molyneaux, Viveash, Jackson, Shaxton, Robertson, Williams, Chapman

Hitchin: Bennett, Deeney, Pepper,Williams, Stevenson, Smith, Fehmi (Lewis 59), Barr, P.Barnes (Harusha 62), M.Barnes, Ducket (Gilbert 75)

Attendance: 160

Referee: S.Robbin

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