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Hitchin Town 0 Brackley Town 1

Saturday, April 11 2009

Anyone expecting this game to have been a glorious celebration of Hitchin’s achievement in staying up this season would have been sadly mistaken. Over the past few days, Hitchin’s management - quite rightly - have been tempering any premature back-slapping after the Canaries 3-1 win against Yate. Ongoing calculations on how many points will be needed to stay up are now being revised in the corridors of Top Field, for this relegation battle may indeed last until 4.50pm on April 25.

Munday goes close  Photo: GT60Hitchin didn’t have enough savvy to combat a wily Brackley side. The Northants side may be in nomansland when it comes to the league table, but they are now out to impress a new manager - giving them the late season boost that makes their games more relevant than they might have been under the old regime.

To rub some sodium chloride into the Hitchin wounds, one of their old players, the underrated Tony Fontenelle, played a pivotal part in Brackley’s victory, along with one of the most hard-working forwards seen at Top Field this season in Ben Mackey. And at the back, they had decades of experience in the form of Derek Brown, who kept the waspish Mark Barnes quiet for 90 minutes.

Strangely, Hitchin had the best chances throughout the 90 minutes. Jon Munday, who is growing into the skipper’s role game by game, volleyed over from close range and just before the interval, he met a Mark E’Beyer free kick at the far post, only to see his effort sail across the face of goal. The first period was held up by a nasty injury to Brackley’s Tom Winters, a gashed knee that sent Ashley Grinham’s name into the referee’s pocket book.

Brackley took the lead after 47 minutes with a goal that sums up Hitchin’s shortcomings this season. The Canaries defence had several chances to clear a loose ball inside the six yard box and Derwayne Stupple lost possession to Brackley substitute Mark Rawle who scored with ease - little wonder that keeper Martin Bennett vocalised his displeasure!

James Edgerley came on at half-time for the luckless Keiron St.Aimie, to add some finesse to the proceedings and he had two worthy left foot efforts that almost found the net, notably one that was cleared off the line by Alex Cowley. Hitchin’s closest chance fell to Barnes, who was set clear by E’Beyer but saw his shot roll against the post.

There were long faces all round, but Hitchin were beaten by a team that should arguably be higher in the table. The "great escape" goes on…

Hitchin Town (0)0 Brackley Town (0)1

Hitchin: Bennett, Gallen, Grinham, Munday (Olima 55), Thorne, Williams, Lewis, Stupple (Boateng 67), St.Aimie (Edgerley h/t), Barnes, E’Beyer

Brackley: Goode, Cowley, Perpetuni, Blossom, Brown, Spencer, Cracknell (Brady 90), Hadland, Fontenelle (Farley 88), Mackey, Winters (Rawle 16)

Scorer: Rawle 47

Attendance: 363

Referee: N.Field

 

 

 



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