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Hitchin Town 0 Swindon Supermarine 1

Saturday, August 16 2008

Hitchin's fans trudged away from Top Field disappointed as the Canaries ended the day goalless and pointless against Swindon Supermarine.

Words like lack-lustre and anti-climax were being uttered by the Hitchin faithful, but manager Darran Hay, although unhappy with the outcome, felt there was some positives to be had. "We were poor in the first half, but I think we did enough to get something in the second. On another day, we would have had a goal or two."

Hay's men were undone by a strong Swindon defence and the selfless performance of the Swindon front-men. Hitchin's own strike force, the Barnes boys, had one of those days when things just wouldn't go right. Indeed, Paul, who has been in sparkling form in pre-season, should have had at least one goal.

But the first half was Swindon's and Hitchin struggled to get into gear. That said, Paul Barnes almost netted in the 19th minute when he linked up with brother Mark and flicked wide of the goal.

Swindon had the better chances, however, with Alan Griffin setting up Steve Cook, but his shot was off target and then Griffin being denied by Martin Bennett.

Hitchin started better in the second period, with Paul Barnes racing through but seeing his tame shot saved by Matt Bulman. The ball ran loose, and substitute Ian Draycott seemed to be pulled down, but referee Mr Knowles ignored the half-hearted pleas for a penalty. Draycott then teed-up Paul Barnes but his chip sailed away from the Swindon goal.

Luke Gregson also went close with a chip that was just inches away from giving Hitchin the lead.

Luke Gregson in action against Swindon Supermarine 

In the 73rd minute, however, Griffin rolled the ball across the face of the Hitchin goal and Steve Cook tapped it into the net to give Swindon the lead.

Hitchin retaliated, but they were unable to make much headway. Derwayne Stupple's low shot was easily saved by Bulman and in the dying seconds, Gregson headed wide after a good cross by Michael Cox, but there was no way back for the Canaries. "There are 41 more games to go - we've got time and the players to get it right," insisted Hay.

Hitchin: Bennett, Cox, Pepper, Williams, Gilbert, Smith, Barr (Draycott h/t), Stupple, P.Barnes, M.Barnes, Wilson (Gregson 66)
Swindon: Bulman, Lapham, Allen, Horgan, Henry, Thompson, Boateng (Edenborough 76), Cook (Hopper 79), Griffin (Lightbody 89), Taylor, Stanley

Attendance: 271

Referee: C.J. Knowles

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