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Hitchin Town 2 Stourbridge 2

Tuesday, March 24 2009

Hitchin, at last, limped out of the bottom four of the BGB Premier Division since December and gave their long-suffering supporters hope of beating the dreaded drop.

 

The Canaries will claim that it was a case of “two points dropped” as they struggled to kill-off Stourbridge. If Hitchin are to pull off another escape – and for the first time in months they are in a position to do so – they seem to be doing it the hard way. Hitchin are above Banbury on goal difference and the two teams meet on Saturday in a game that has a billing comparable to a cup final.

 

Colin Payne’s men got off to an excellent start, Des Boateng volleying in off the crossbar after just six minutes. In the opening stages Hitchin played confidently and if Jon Munday’s header had found the net instead of the outstretched palm of goalkeeper Lewis Solly, the Canaries would have been on the road to a healthy win.

 

But Stourbridge drew level after 32 minutes when Leon Broadhurst, a player making a named for himself this season, powered home a header from a corner.

 

Three minutes from the interval, however, Hitchin regained the lead when Ieuan Lewis was seemingly brought down in the area and officious referee Gavin Muge awarded a penalty. Muge spent the evening lecturing players in schoolmasterly fashion, but the penalty decision was perhaps a little generous. Jeff Hammond confidently blasted the penalty kick past Solly to claim his sixth goal since joining Hitchin.

 

Hitchin had the chance to build on their interval lead, with Paul Olima and Tom Pepper having chances to extend the advantage. But Hitchin found it hard to get past a solid Stourbridge defence, despite not short measure of industry from midfield.

 

With 13 minutes remaining, the Hitchin defence was caught napping as the ball was played back after a period of pinball and aerial tennis in the middle of the park. Stourbridge substitute Shane Benjamin was the beneficiary of some sloppy covering and he rounded Martin Bennett and slotted the ball into the net.

 

There was another blow for Hitchin two minutes from time when Jeff Hammond walked off – to the amazement of a large percentage of the crowd. He had been sent off and now misses vital games in the run-in.

 

Hitchin Town (2)2 Stourbridge (1)2

 

Hitchin: Bennett, Rose, Pepper, Munday, Thorne, Williams, Lewis, Stupple, Hammond, Shittu (Olima 59), Boateng (Edgerley 82)

 

Scorers: Boateng 6, Hammond- pen 42

 

Stourbridge: Solly, Rock (Hadley 66), Drake, Collins, Langford, Jones, Smith, Broadhurst, Bridgwater, Mahon, Canavan (Benjamin 66)

 

Scorers: Broadhurst 32, Benjamin 77

 

Attendance: 248

Referee: G.Muge

 

 



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