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Tiverton Town 3 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, February 21 2009

A bad day at the office – albeit an office 212 miles away from home – was the only way to describe Hitchin’s afternoon at Tiverton.

Manager Colin Payne was left in no doubt about the size of the task he faces in the coming weeks and months as his side were brushed aside by a tough Tiverton side. A disastrous first half and a second period that included two sending offs summed up Hitchin’s day.

Payne made just one change from the side that fought so well against Corby in midweek, bringing in fit-again Ieuan Lewis for absent Tom Davis.

But Tiverton went ahead after 12 minutes when a well struck shot from Mike Booth from the edge of the area found the back of the net. Hitchin came back from that setback with a couple of half chances for Mark E’Beyer and Des Boateng, but they were just that and the Tiverton goal was not seriously tested.

The home side extended their lead on 33 minutes when the dangerous Phil Walsh headed home at the far post from a Paul Jarvis cross. Walsh was a constant menace for the Hitchin defence and went close to adding to Tiverton’s tally on two occasions.

There was another blow for the Canaries on the stroke of half-time when Bobby Hopkinson was brought down in the penalty area and scourge of the past Jamie Mudge netted from the spot.

Jeff Hammond creates a goal for Ieuan LewisThree down at half time, it was a question of playing for pride and damage limitation after the break – unless Hitchin could somehow grab a goal in the early stages of the second period. That was exactly what happened in the 53rd minute. Jeff Hammond, who suddenly shook off the shackles of the first half to cause some discomfort for Tivvy’s dominant centre half Nathan Rudge, raced to the byline and pulled the ball back for Lewis to shoot home from close range.

If Boateng had not been denied by a Steve Book double save, Hitchin could have mounted the sort of recovery that undid them at Rugby a few weeks ago. But it wasn’t to be and the first of two major blows hit the Canaries just after the goal. Russell Bull had only been on the pitch a few minutes when he caught a Tiverton player and was red-carded by referee Mr.Grenfell. It seemed a little and left Bull distraught as he trudged off. Bull was still claiming “not guilty” as the team arrived back in Hitchin several hours later.

Tiverton contained Hitchin’s recovery and might have added a goal or two in the latter stages. But in added time, the red card was waved once more as Ollie Thorne brought down Hopkinson. No complaints this time.

Tiverton Town (3)3 Hitchin Town (0)1

Tiverton: Book, Adam Faux, Jarvis (Alex Faux 44), Villis, Rudge, Gardner, Booth, Hopkinson, Walsh (Wyatt 85), Saunders (Gould 87), Mudge

Scorers: Booth 12, Walsh 33, Mudge (pen) 45

Hitchin: Woods, Pepper, Smith (Marks 80), Munday, Thorne, Boateng, Lewis, E’Beyer, Hammond, M.Barnes (Bull 60), Stevenson

Scorer: Lewis 53

Referee: P.Grenfell

Attendance: 375

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