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Farnborough 1 Hitchin Town 0

Saturday, April 4 2009

An afternoon nap in the spring sunshine - that’s how best to describe the spectator experience at Cherrywood Road, home of BGB Premier champions-elect Farnborough.

Action from Farnborough v HitchinBefore the game, Farnborough’s fans were bemoaning the fact that this season, their side had not played well, were not good to watch and that their manager, Francis Vines, has continually tinkered with the side. After all, Boro were only four points clear and had lost just twice at home all season. How tough it must be to be a Farnborough fan - a club that has always had lofty ambitions - witness the cliché strewn reign of their one-time manager-owner now plying his trade elsewhere. This time, the only marketing strapline to be found at Cherrywood Road is the anthemic "Your town, your team" hanging from every pylon.

Perhaps it was nerves, or the man in the yellow and blue shirt before the game was right - Farnborough do not look as confident as they did earlier in the season and their attack was something of a blunt weapon. Nevertheless, they will surely win the league, but on the evidence of a game between 1st and 17th-placed sides, there’s not much to choose between the two ends of the table.

The only genuine chances in the opening half came as the two sets of fans were still settling into their places. Mark Barnes went close to scoring for the Canaries and at the other end, Mark Gamble saw his shot blocked by Martin Bennett.

At the interval, Farnborough blamed their pitch, a dustbowl surface sprinkled with bare patches, for their lack lustre display. It certainly didn’t help either side.

The deciding goal came after 65 minutes, and Hitchin can only blame themselves. Des Boateng gave the ball away in midfield, and Adam Wilde sent a relatively tame, but well-aimed shot low into the net from 25 yards.

Hitchin’s attacks were well dealt with by a strong and effective Farnborough defence - clearly the rock on which Vines has built his title bid - and there was to be no repeat of Jeff Hammond’s four-goal salvo at Swindon a few days earlier.

Farnborough almost added another in the closing stages, but Martin Bennett pulled off good saves from Michael Charles and Mo Harkin. The final whistle was greeted with relief - relief that such a laboured 90 minutes was over, or that the home side had edged closer to a league title?

Farnborough (0)1 Hitchin Town (0)0

Farnborough: Barnard, Ray, Ciardini, Woozley, Rumbold, Laidler, Harkin, Bailey, Gamble (Richardson 63), Charles (Calliste 88), Wilde

Scorer: Wilde 65

Hitchin: Bennett, Rose, Grinham, Munday, Olima, Williams (Boateng 52), Lewis (George 76), Stupple, Hammond, M.Barnes (St.Aimie 61), E’Beyer

Attendance: 707

Referee: M.Russell

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