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Hitchin Town 4 Luton Town 1

Monday, July 14 2008

The Canaries kicked off their pre-season programme in style, deservedly beating a dazed and confused Luton Town side uncertain of its very future.

This was a highly encouraging performance by Hitchin, who looked fitter, faster and more determined than their Football League Two opponents. Manager Darran Hay has had his charges in training for weeks, refusing to relax during the close season.

Luton, a disorganised mixture of trialists, youth teamers and experienced squad players, looked jaded and dispirited. But for Hay, this was exactly the sort of response he was looking for.

He unveiled some new faces; man mountain central defender Marcus Gross, left-sided player Lee Wilson, former Bedford man Jon Woolf, full back Michael Cox and best of all, Derwayne Stupple.

Hitchin took the lead after just 11 minutes when Paul Barnes, who looked sharp all evening, headed home from a corner. Seven minutes later, Luton levelled when Asa Hall dived to head past Martin Bennett from close range.

But Hitchin regained the lead after 28 minutes, Barnes scoring again with a crisp finish from a Stupple through-ball.

Luton scarcely troubled the Hitchin defence and late in the game the Canaries added two more goals. In the 82nd minute, gangly striker Russell Ball, stepping up from junior football, sent a low shot past Luton keeper Dean Brill and five minutes later, Scott Orphanou ran onto a long ball, outpaced a defender and finished with confidence.

"I could not have asked for more," commented Hay. "The lads looked fit, they were confident and they can't wait to get started on August 16."

Hitchin: Bennett, Cox, Pepper, Williams (McArdle), Gross (Smith), Gilbert, Woolf (Barr), Stupple, P.Barnes (Ball), M.Barnes, Wilson (Orphanou)

Attendance: 876


The game was preceded by a veterans match between Hitchin Town 1992-95 and a team of Luton old boys. Hitchin's side included FA Cup heroes Mark Burke, Steve Miller, Shaun Marshall, Jon Bone, Lee Burns, Richard Wilmot, Darren Thompson and David Cooper as well as the popular Adam Parker. Luton included Rob Johnson and Ian Scott, both former Hitchin favourites as well as ex-Assistant Manager Ken Gillard. The game was won by the Hitchin team, Cooper scoring a spectacular goal.

The Veterans line up before the game 

The "Veterans" line up before the game.




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