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Aylesbury United 3 Hitchin Town 4

Saturday, April 10 2010

Five minutes into the second half of this game, Hitchin's Zamaretto Midlands Division title hopes looked in tatters. Aylesbury had just scored their third goal and the Canaries were struggling to get going, but then it all changed - dramatically. Three goals in 18 minutes turned the result on its head and secured a play-off place - at least - for Hitchin.

Aylesbury were not the team Hitchin faced earlier in the season. They have been picking up results and they seem to have aquired a strong "backs to the wall" spirit that may have arrived too late but will hold them in good stead for next season. As for Hitchin, the promotion race jitters are putting their fans through some pretty nerve-wracking afternoons.

They took the lead after 10 minutes, however, when a determined Jeff Hammond fought off a challenge before shooting home. But the early pressure gave way to a scrappy first period and it was no surprise when Tyrone Taylor headed Aylesbury level from a  Lewis McBride free kick. Former Hitchin striker Richard Pringle almost scored when hia header was tipped over for a corner by Martin Bennett.

But Aylesbury did score again before the break, McBride netting with a tame shot from inside the area. There was more bad news for Hitchin in the 50th minute when an unmarked Ashley Harewood drove past Bennett from close range following a throw-in.

Hitchin reshaped their team, bringing on Ieuan Lewis and Luke Donnelly. Something seemed to work, for within six minutes, Carl Williams had brought Hitchin back into the game with a low shot inside the area. Williams, who rarely gets on the scoresheet, brought Hitchin level in the 63rd minute, receiving a through ball by Hammond and running on to shoot wide of Aylesbury keeper Jack Sillitoe.

Hitchin's recovery was now in full flight and in the 74th minute, another ball by Hammond was met by Jamie Arlick and the Canaries top goalscorer sent a subline chip over Sillitoe's head.

Arlick, who has now scored 30 goals this season, went close to adding to his tally when he sent a glancing header against a post.
Aylesbury didn't threaten again, and the Canaries held out to claim the win - they can surely not be as generous in defence as they were for much of this game, but they showed an awful lot of character in retreiving what looked like a lost cause.

Aylesbury United  (2)3 Hitchin Town (1)4

0-1 Hammond 10; 1-1 Taylor 30; 2-1 McBride 50; 3-1 Harewood 50; 3-2 Williams 56; 3-3 Williams 63; 4-3 Arlick 74

Aylesbury: Sillitoe, James, Ayodele (Nicholls 85), Toms (O'Grady 52), Mealor, McBride, Montgomery, Harewood, Pringle, Taylor, Clarke
Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Fontenelle, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Howell , Stevenson (L.Donnelly 51), Arlick, Hammond (Hunt 84), Burke (Lewis 51)

Attendance: 276 (120 from Hitchin)
Referee: M.Howes

To see a photo gallery of this game, click here

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