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Barton Rovers 3 Hitchin Town 6

Tuesday, February 2 2010

Six goals, back to the top of the table, and a first away win in three months - all would seem to be well in the Hitchin camp. If there was a cloud, and it came late in the day, it was two sloppy goals at the end of the night. But in truth, Hitchin were home and dry by half-time as the Canaries produced some whirlwind football in the first half hour at Sharpenhoe Road.

Barton demonstrated why they are struggling at the foot of the table with a display of extreme defensive fragility. It didn’t take long for Hitchin to open the scoring – after 10 minutes when Carl Williams, rarely a visitor to the scoresheet – shot home from outside the area. Three minutes later, it was 2-0 as Harry Hunt raced through and shot wide of former Hitchin keeper Grant Beckwith. Then, in the 16th minute, Barton capitulated once more when Dean Gilbert nodded across to Jamie Arlick who headed into the net from six yards.

Hitchin scored again after 31 minutes, Hunt working his way into the area and pulling the ball back for Ieuan Lewis to shoot low through a crowded penalty area.

Richard Howell almost added to Barton’s first half woe when he struck the crossbar, but the last goal of the opening period fell to Barton, when Joel Mason swept the ball home as the Canaries’ concentration lapsed.

Howell didn’t have to wait to long to make his contribution to the evening, however, as he sent a well-placed free kick past Beckwith in the 49th minute. Howell was initially credit with a second on 61 minutes when he crossed the ball over to the far post, but it was Sam Spencer that turned the ball into his own net.

Now 6-1 ahead, Hitchin had the chance to run up a veritable cricket score, but somehow it did not materialise. Williams and Jeff Hammond both had good chances to score, and Harry Hunt missed an open goal from 10 yards.

Barton, who to their credit, refused to throw the towel in, pulled a goal back in the 81st minute through Alex O’Brien and in the 90th minute, Mason netted from the penalty spot. The beleaguered home side may have had the last say, but victory had long been secured by Colin Payne’s confident side.

Barton Rovers (1)3 Hitchin Town (4)6
0-1 Williams 10 mins
0-2 Hunt 13 mins
0-3 Arlick 16 mins
0-4 Lewis 31 mins
1-4 Mason 44 mins
1-5 Howell 48 mins
1-6 Spencer OG 61 mins
2-6 O’Brien 81 mins
3-6 Mason (pen) 90 mins

Barton: Beckwith, Hull, Case, Hewitt (Peverall 77), Andrews, Draper, Spencer, O’Brien, C.Donnelly (Davis 57), Mason, George (Clark 77)
Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle (Grinham 84), Pepper, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Lee, Arlick (Hammond 75), Hunt, Howell (Burke 77)

Attendance: 197 (150 from Hitchin)
Referee: D.Flanagan

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