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Atherstone Town 1 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, March 27 2010

Nobody minds too much how victories are achieved if the result is the right one - especially at this stage of a promotion chasing season. Hitchin made heavy weather of Atherstone, but then so too did Burnham and Slough in recent weeks - and they didn't come out with all three points. For the second time this season,
Atherstone's young side proved to be a difficult nut to crack.

It could not have started better for Hitchin, however. In the third minute, a disputed free kick was awarded, Richard Howell floated the ball over to the far post, it struck the woodwork and a tame header from Harry Hunt sailed into the net.

Hitchin didn't have their finishing boots on in the first half, though, and Jamie Arlick had at least two chances that should have been converted. Howell also went close with a diving header from Tom Pepper's cross.

Atherstone were not without their opportunities, however, and Martin Bennett denied Luke Keen as the half drew to a close. Bennett was at his best again after the interval, saving from Tyron Amory.

Hitchin were still over-generous to their hosts, and Harry Hunt should have done better when he raced through but sent his shot sky-high. In the 59th minute, Colin Payne's men extended their lead, Dean Gilbert prodding the ball home after Atherstone's uncertain goalkeeper Nathan Woakes, had spilled another free kick by Howell.

Within a minute, the home side pulled a goal back, a spectacular finish by Amory that gave Bennett no chance.

Atherstone gave the Canaries some nervous moments in the dying minutes, notably when Keen chipped just over, and Bennett again came to the rescue with a point blank save. Substitute Jeff Hammond could have made things more certain for Hitchin when he was set clear by Hunt, but his shot was blocked.

Atherstone Town (0)1 Hitchin Town (1)2

0-1 Hunt 3 mins; 0-2 Gilbert 59 mins; 1-2 Amory 60 mins

Atherstone: Woakes, Banks, Reid, Guiney, Perry, Weale, Amory, Keen, Smith, Hendrie, Roscoria (Johnson 85)
Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Fontenelle, Donnelly, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Lee (Stevenson 58), Arlick (Hammond 78), Hunt, Howell (Burke 70)

Attendance: 236 (70 from Hitchin)
Referee: C.Husband

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