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Halesowen Town 2 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, January 12 2008

Is there a light, albeit a dimly flickering one, shining at the end of Hitchin's tunnel?. That was the question being asked by the handful of Canaries' fans that witnessed this cruel defeat.

In what was arguably Hitchin's best performance under Darran Hay, Halesowen consigned them to their sixth defeat in seven league games. A late goal, after Hitchin had fought back from a half-time deficit, was hardly what Halesowen deserved but at least Hay could draw some encouragement from his team's overall display.

Hitchin fielded another new signing, Darell Ellams, a left back from Wycombe Wanderers. The youngster looked a good acquisition on this showing.

What was doubly cruel for Hitchin was that one of their former players, Zema Abbey, put Halesowen ahead after 33 minutes. Abbey didn't have to work too hard for his goal, casually nodding home from a corner.

Earlier, Hitchin had some half chances, notably from Paul Armstrong and Ricky Miller.

In recent weeks, a goal from the opposition has resulted in capitulation, but Hitchin came back well and in the 54th minute, they silenced the home crowd with an equaliser. Wayne Mills shrugged aside a challenge from two players to get a shot in, and the ball bounced off the post to Richard Pringle, who shot into the net.

It could have been better for Hitchin, but James Nash shot over the bar after the ball rolled to him on the far post. At the other end, an overhead kick by Ikechi Anya was only a fraction too high.

Three minutes from time, Halesowen grabbed the winning goal, Shane Paul drilling into the net after the Hitchin defence failed to clear a corner.

It was enough to extinguish Hitchin's hopes, but given the disparity in resources between the two clubs, the Canaries ran a side with title aspirations very close.

Halesowen Town: Osborn, Lycett, Perpetuini, Pearce, Pierpoint, Denny, Paul, Caskey, Abbey, Brennan (Waite 65), Hicks (Anya 56)

Hitchin Town: Perks, Deeney, Ellams, Williams, Gilbert, Pepper, Mills, Beale, Pringle, Armstrong, Miller (Nash 50)

Attendance: 420

Referee: N.Day

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