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Mangotsfield United 2 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, November 8 2008

Canaries manager Darran Hay shook up his squad on Saturday, bringing in three new players to his starting line-up and adding more new faces to the bench in a bid to change Hitchin Town’s season. The move deserved some payback at Mangotsfield in a bizarre game in which referee Mr Pottage waved cards more frequently than US flags were brandished earlier in the week.

Hay, like President-elect Obama, said "Change had come" when he promised new faces were coming to the Yellow & Green House, and on the evidence of his reaction to an unsatisfactory afternoon, change has only just started.

Hitchin didn’t deserve to go in at half-time a goal down. New signing Des Boateng was influential in the first period and the other new men, Marcus Rose and Darrell Ellams, looked comfortable in defence. Mangotsfield took the lead after 12 minutes when a cross by Danny Wring was headed home at the near post by Mitchell Page.

Luke Gregson just failed to connect with the ball when an Ellams free kick was parried by Mangotsfield keeper Josh Clapham only as far as the big midfielder. Paul Barnes was denied by Clapham after he controlled the ball and created a chance for himself and Brett Donnelly should have done better when a Barnes cross landed on his head. A long range volley by Boateng was only inches too high as Hitchin ended the half on top.

In the 49th minute, Donnelly was slow to react to the ball after Gregson struck the top of the crossbar and six minutes later, the former Arlesey striker was sent off after pushing a Mangotsfield player to the ground. But in the 61st minute, Hitchin were given a lifeline when a penalty was awarded for a push in the area. Paul Barnes scored from the spot to level the scores.

It was 10-aside in the 65th minute when Scott Hendy was sent off for a handball offence, but Hitchin failed to push on from their early second half ascendancy. Page hit a post as Mangotsfield got back on top and in the 76th minute, the home side regained the lead, Marcus Duharty sliding the ball home after good work down the flank by Tom Collet. Page was dismissed in the 80th minute after foolishly putting the ball in the net after being flagged offside.

Hitchin had a series of goalmouth scrambles that may have yielded another equaliser, but they couldn’t make the breakthrough. The game ended with both sets of fans jeering Mr Pottage as he left the field. As for Darran Hay, he was promising even more change as he contemplated a very tough few weeks ahead for the Canaries.

Mangotsfield United (1)2 Hitchin Town (0)1

Mangotsfield: Clapham, Ball, Bater, Scott, Hendy, Wilmot, Collet, Tippins, Page, Duharty (Morris 82), Wring

Scorers: Page 14, Duharty 76

Hitchin: Bennett, Cox, Ellams (Bull 77), Stupple, Gilbert, Rose, Williams, Gregson, P.Barnes, Donnelly, Boateng (Doyle 68)

Scorer: Barnes-pen 61

Referee: M.Pottage

Attendance: 185



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