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Hitchin Town 1 Bashley 1

Tuesday, March 17 2009

It wasn’t the result the Canaries were looking for, but in the end, it was a result that looked unlikely for much of the evening.

Hitchin’s battle against relegation is likely to last until the final week of the season, so the underlying feeling about a 1-1 draw against a fellow struggler was one of impatience. Those looking for quick solutions to a problem, or a epoch-changing event, were disappointed.

Hitchin had plenty of the play throughout the 90 minutes, but they lacked invention and without the injured Jeff Hammond, they were not as effective up front. Mark E’Beyer had the Canaries’ best early chances, a powerful free-kick that was well saved by David Elm and a shot over the bar.

In a good spell for Hitchin, Ieuan Lewis crossed for Paul Olima, but he just failed to connect.

It was Bashley that took the lead in the 48th minute. The Hitchin defence gave away possession and Justin Keeler touched the ball to Ryan Moss, who saw his backheel blocked on the line, leaving Dave Allen free to sweep his shot past returning goalkeeper Richard Wilmot from close range.

Two minutes later, there was a let off for Hitchin when Gary Middleton struck the crossbar with a header. From being in control in the first half, Colin Payne’s men had lost all their shape.

Hitchin retaliated, but despite dominating for long periods, they were unable to find a away past the dominant Bashley central defenders. E’Beyer had another chance that was too high and Liam George saw his volley blocked.

The home crowd had almost given up hope of a goal when the Canaries pulled an equaliser out of the hat. Olima played a low cross into the area and Mark Barnes slid the ball into the net from six yards.

The goal triggered off a late rally, with George striking the crossbar with a glancing header and the same player going close when he attempted to dribble past two defenders. But Hitchin didn’t have enough guile to pull it off.

Hitchin Town (0)1 Bashley (0)1

Hitchin: Wilmot, Rose (Grinham 70), Pepper, Munday, Thorne, Williams, Lewis, E’Beyer, M.Barnes, Olima, Doyle (George 50)

Scorers: M.Barnes 85

Bashley: Elm, Gazzard, Ferrett, Middleton, Parnell, Knowles, Tarr, Allen, Moss, Gillespie (Bray 24), Keeler

Scorer: Allen 48

Referee: R.Mackay

Attendance: 228

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