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Hitchin Town 2 Kings Lynn 2

Tuesday, March 18 2008

Not for many years have the Hitchin crowd been so passionate or excited about a match as they were about the Canaries recovery to earn a crucial point against Kings Lynn!

Darran Hay's side jumped out of the bottom four for the first time in months, a feat that was greeted with applause that went on for five minutes after the final whistle. Two goals down at half-time, Hitchin almost pulled off a famous victory against title-chasing Lynn, but in the end, it was a famous draw.

Hitchin played well from start to finish, despite conceding two goals from former Canary Matt Nolan. Paul Barnes should have given Hitchin an early lead when he was set up by his waif-like brother, but his shot was wide from six yards.

In the 17th minute, Nolan scored from close range, sliding the ball in the net after a low cross from Ricky Bains. For a while, it looked like Lynn might overrun Hitchin, but Martin Bennett pulled off a good save from a John Turner header.

Nolan netted again in the 34th minute, finishing well after a Kings Lynn breakaway. But three minutes later, Lynn keeper Scott Howie was sent off after handling a Mark Barnes effort outside the penalty area. Substitute keeper Rob Murray came on and Jack Defty was sacrificed in the process.

This proved to be the turning point and Hitchin really laid siege on the Kings Lynn goal in the second half. Mark Smith had a shot blocked following a corner, and the Canaries continued to stretch 10-man Lynn.

The breakthrough came after 62 minutes. A high ball by Paul Barnes was hooked back across goal by Jon Stevenson and Luke Gregson swept the ball into the net from six yards.

Gregson was again in action when he nodded the ball down to Mark Barnes, but he scooped his shot over the bar. Barnes had another effort seconds later that went just wide.

A series of crosses and corners kept Lynn under pressure but it looked as though the Norfolk side would hold out. There was some controversy when Murray seemed to be several feet over the goal-line when he caught a corner. Four minutes from the end, Stevenson shot home with a curling effort that gave Murray no chance. The scenes that followed were ecstatic to say the least.

Hitchin continued to push forward, a sign that the mood at the club has changed dramatically in a few weeks, but a point lifted the Canaries two places and sets Hay's men up for the Easter programme.

Hitchin: Bennett, Deeney, Pepper (Davies 81), Williams, Gilbert (Stevenson 51), Smith, Lewis, Gregson, P.Barnes (Harusha 88), M.Barnes, Olaleye

Kings Lynn: Howie, Bains, Chapman, Hoyte, Crane, Camm, Turner (Melton 60), Sedgemore, Defty (Murray 37), Nolan (Frew 79), Francis

Attendance: 447

Referee: D.Bushell


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