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Hitchin Town 1 Evesham United 2

Saturday, April 25 2009

The most poignant moment of Hitchin’s entire season took place at the end of a game that consigned the Canaries to relegation.

The tearful expression on assistant manager Charlie Williams’ face was enough to break the hearts of Hitchin fans everywhere as the 400-game veteran contemplated failure. Williams had run his socks off once more and could give no more - if only Hitchin had more men like him, then the almost inevitable outcome of this dreadful season would surely have been different.

On the day, Hitchin were just no good enough to keep their side of the bargain. Clevedon had lost 0-1 to Oxford City, Banbury had been pasted by Corby, but Hitchin - as so often has been the case this season - lacked the necessary ingredients to grab a game by the scruff of the neck and take charge.

The Canaries got off to the good start, with the ever improving Mark Barnes curling home a 12th minute effort that gave Colin Payne’s men the lead. For a while, the crowd, which had been humming The Impossible Dream for much of the first half, it looked as though the afternoon might end happily, but right on the stroke of half-time, Evesham drew level.

Mark Barnes in action against Evesham: Photo by Josh MasseyA neat cross by Michael Hayden was heading home by the giant, horizontal figure of Jermaine Clarke, who, incidentally, was lucky to be still on the field after a brutish challenge on Martin Bennett.

In the early stages of the second half, Barnes had two chances, the first a glancing header wide from a Williams cross, and then a hooked effort that was cleared off the goal-line by Simon Fitter.

Although Hitchin attacked relentlessly, they were unable to break through and they were made to pay for their wasted superiority. With seven minutes remaining, a long pass out to the left ended with Robert Ager lobbing Bennett with the hapless keeper off his line. Top Field fell silent.

The quickest seven minutes in history passed and Hitchin were relegated. It is now down to Payne and Williams to sift through the wreckage and build something tangible for 2009-10.

Hitchin Town (1)1 Evesham United (1)2

Hitchin: Bennett, Rose (Edgerley 80), Grinham, Boateng (St.Aimie 85), Olima, Williams, Lewis, Stupple, Hammond, M.Barnes, George

Scorer: M.Barnes 12

Evesham: Vaughan, Watson (Wood 68), Hyde, Hodnett, Joe Clarke, Blake, Fitter, Woodley, Jermaine Clarke, Lennon (Ager 75), Hayden

Scorers: Jermaine Clarke 45, Ager 83

Attendance: 534

Referee: A.Smith


Photo: Josh Massey











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