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Hitchin Town 3 Clevedon Town 0

Saturday, March 15 2008

Now survival is in sight for the Canaries after this comprehensive victory over a team that had lost just once in 15 games. There's no more talk at Top Field of if Hitchin can avoid relegation, the mood now is "when" we are safe. For with four wins in seven games, it is the Canaries' rivals that are nervous as the final run-in approaches.

Darran Hay was delighted with his team's win. "We played into Clevedon's hands in the first half, but after the interval, we did the right things. We are starting to believe in ourselves now and we are going out on the field expecting to get a result. There's still much to do, but we are up for each game that comes along," he said.

Clevedon started well, but they failed to test Hitchin goalkeeper Martin Bennett, a player who is growing in stature by the week. The best chance of the first period fell to Paul Barnes, who received a through ball from Ieuan Lewis and shot into the side-netting.

After the interval it was a different story as Hitchin took control. In the 47th minute, a high ball by David Deeney sailed into the area and Carl Williams was impeded by a defender. Deeney scored convincingly with his penalty kick.

Two minutes later, Lewis passed out to Paul Barnes and he returned the ball into the centre for Lewis to net his first goal since rejoining the club.

Lewis had two chances to extend Hitchin's lead further, but both times, Clevedon keeper Danny Greaves blocked his effort.

Clevedon offered little in the way of threat. Well organised, yes, but lacking punch up front and ponderous in midfield.

Hitchin sealed the points in the 77th minute when Tom Pepper sent the ball forwards and Paul Barnes ran from just inside the Clevedon half, eventually chipping his effort over Greaves.

It wasn't until the final seconds that Clevedon threatened Bennett, a chip by Matt Prosser that was tipped over the bar.

Hitchin: Bennett, Deeney, Pepper, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Gregson (Barr 85), P.Barnes, M.Barnes (Harusha 78), Olalaye (Kenneford 85)

Clevedon: Greaves, Loxton, Haines, Trought, Hendry, Scott, Leek, Bater, Page, Bassatt (Symons 52), Sylvester (Prosser 69)

Attendance: 310

Referee: C.Knowles


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