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Hitchin Town 2 Team Bath 1

Saturday, March 8 2008

Hitchin's revival gained a genuine scalp when they beat the students of Team Bath in a very convincing fashion.

This was no fluke, the Canaries looked more like a team at the top end of the table than one in the bottom three. If they continue playing like this, they won't be in the relegation zone for too long.

The hero of the hour was Mark Barnes, a relatively unknown striker who was signed by manager Darran Hay just over a week ago. Barnes, the brother of Paul, Hitchin's other striker, scored both goals and looked confident and menacing all afternoon.
Hay seems to have unearthed a gem.

Barnes made an early impact when he struck the post with a volley from a corner. Hitchin had already had a slight scare when Team Bath's leading scorer, and the most coveted forward in the league, Sean Canham, had an overhead kick which was saved by goalkeeper Martin Bennett.

After 20 minutes, Barnes opened the scoring for Hitchin. A long ball by Mark Ducket ran kindly for Barnes and he shrugged aside a challenge before toe-poking the ball past Team Bath goalkeeper Jake Meredith.

Team Bath responded with a powerful header from skipper Gary Warren and Canham was in action again when he saw a close range header deflected over the bar.

Hitchin's Barnes brothers linked up to create another chance for Mark, whose shot was pushed for a corner.

Team Bath started the second half well, but it wasn't long before Hitchin extended their lead. Mark Barnes was again the scorer, exploiting a bad back pass by Adi Adams and rolling the ball into the corner of the net.

Hitchin almost scored again when Luke Gregson got on the end of another Ducket corner but failed to take advantage.

Team Bath pulled a goal back in the 76th minute, Steve Abbott turning and shooting into the top corner from six yards.

But Hitchin replied quickly and Barnes almost had another when his volley was cleared off the line by Adams. Iuean Lewis also went close after Mark Barnes had set him up, but Meredith stopped his point blank effort.

The visitors continued to play their passing game, but the likes of Canham and his partner Joe Arnold were well policed by the Canaries defence.

Hitchin: Bennett, Deeney, Pepper, Williams, Stevenson (Gilbert 47), Smith, Lewis, Gregson, P.Barnes (Mills 53), M.Barnes, Ducket (Olaleye 84)

Team Bath: Meredith, Adams, Hale (M.Canham 64), Abbott, Warren, Al-Abd, Ake (Perrott 73), Smith (Llewellyn 84), Arnold, S.Canham, Thomson

Attendance: 295

Referee: M.Blackledge

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