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Hitchin Town 1 Gloucester City 2

Saturday, November 17 2007

The alarm bells are really starting to sound at Top Field after a defeat that means Hitchin are without a league win since the beginning of September. Beaten by fellow strugglers Gloucester City, the Canaries were always second best.

To make matters worse, Hitchin suffered another red card, their fourth in recent games and just like Martin Standen a fortnight ago, Ricky Miller was sent off for the second time in a handful of games.

Red cards and suspensions are costing Hitchin dear at present and with a small squad and limited resources, they can scarcely afford to be without key players at a crucial time.

Any side low of confidence doesnít need much to be knocked out of its stride, and it was a two-goal burst by Gloucester midway through the first half that killed Darren Saltonís team. They had started well enough, with Richard Pringle going close and Lance Gentle-King sending a header over the bar, but once Gloucester got a grip on the game, it was an uphill struggle.

The first goal, after 24 minutes, saw Lee Smithís cross to the far post heading over Hitchin goalkeeper Ricky Perks. Two minutes later, another cross by Smith, low and hard, was met by a diving header from Michael Whittington. Hitchin had barely recovered from the first goal.

Gloucester almost made it three after 35 minutes when an overhead kick by Alex Sykes was well saved by Perks.

Hitchin had the perfect start to the second half when they scored after 46 minutes. Pringleís low cross to the far post landed invitingly for Moses Olaleye and he had a simple task to score.

The Canaries failed to build on this start, however, although Shane Hill saw his shot deflected away from danger and substitute Colm Kierans had a volley that sailed over the bar. Fellow substitute Ricky Miller should have done better with a low shot.

Miller was booked for diving in the final minute and then shown a second yellow card for dissent. As he walked down the tunnel, Hitchinís last chance to salvage a point went with him.

Hitchin: Perks, Deeney, Ducket, Childs, L.Gentle-King, Williams, Sealey, Hill, Pringle (Miller 66), Mills (Jackman 66), Olaleye

Gloucester: Sawyer, Reid, Noakes, Mustoe, Thomas, Sykes, Rose, Richards, Morford, Whittington (Bevan 81), Smith

Referee: G.Muge

Attendance: 267

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