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Banbury United 1 Hitchin Town 4

Saturday, December 6 2008

How Hitchin needed this win! Darran Hay’s beleaguered side, without a win since early October thoroughly outplayed a Banbury side that may face a very difficult second half of the season. The win was important, lifting the Canaries three places in the table. Crucially, this well deserved victory will give Hay’s men a big confidence boost.

But it was a Hitchin side depleted by injuries and suspension. Mark Barnes, who has struggled to maintain his place this season, proved to be the man for the occasion, scoring a hat-trick and causing problems for Banbury all afternoon.

After a quiet start, Barnes put Hitchin ahead after 22 minutes. Mark E’Beyer’s shot was blocked by defender Mark Essex and Mark Barnes picked up the rebound and his shot went in via a deflection to give the Canaries the lead.

Banbury had some chances to get back on level terms with Howard Forinton and George Redknap both seeing shots cleared by Hitchin defenders.

In the 40th minute, however, Hitchin extended their lead and it was that man Barnes again. Tom Pepper lofted the ball forward and Barnes controlled it well before shooting wide of Banbury keeper Joe Murrell.

Banbury looked low on confidence in the second half, hesitant up front and uncertain at the back. Barnes almost added a third for the Canaries when he was through on goal, but Essex stopped him in his tracks.

In the 65th minute, Barnes secured his second hat-trick for the club. Chris Doyle’s run ended with him sending a low ball across the area and Des Boateng returned the ball to Barnes who stop high into the net from six yards.

Four minutes later, Banbury were given a lifeline to get back into the game, Marcus Rose bringing down Scott Bridges in the area. Nicky Gordon scored from the penalty spot.

There was to be no sustained revival, however and Barnes almost scored again when he met Doyle’s cross to the near post and out the ball wide of the goal. Hitchin ended the game on a high, though, when Boateng passed to substitute Russell Bull and he sent a superb shot into the top corner of the net. Bull’s goal was the icing on the cake. Last season, Mark Barnes’ goals helped stave off relegation. He may be repeating that trick this season….

Banbury United (0)1 Hitchin Town (2)4

Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Ellams, Williams, Gilbert, Rose, Doyle, E’Beyer, M.Barnes (Fraser 81), Hilaire (Bull 55), Boateng

Goals: M.Barnes 22, 40, 65 Bull 89

Banbury: Murrell, Stringfellow, Bennett, Essex, Kinch (Howkins 86), Bridges, Haisley (Stanbridge 57), Redknap, Travers, Forinton (Robinson 57) Gordon.

Goal: Gordon - pen 69

Referee: M.Amphlett
Att: 310

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