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Billericay Town 0 Hitchin Town 0

Saturday, November 21 2009

The Canaries’ FA Trophy run continues after this hard fought draw against Ryman Premier strugglers Billericay Town at a raucous New Lodge.

In  a game that lacked nothing in passion, if a little finesse, Hitchin can claim they should have won, especially as the home side lost a man in the first half to a red card. But Billericay’s defence had an outstanding second half and Hitchin could not find a way past some formidable figures in the back line.

Gilbert goes up at BillericayHitchin started well, with Ieuan Lewis scraping the crossbar with a long range effort and Lewis seeing another shot tipped over by Billericay keeper Andy Walker.

Jamie Arlick also went close when his shot was parried by Walker and Steve Velandia failed to connect with the follow-up.
Billericay also had their opportunities, but Martin Bennett was not seriously tested. James Baker’s height provided some aerial menace, but Hitchin’s defence looked fairly solid.

Towards the end of the half, Billericay’s tackling raised some concerns with a series of wild lunges. The referee, who appeared to be adopting a liberal approach, finally unleashed his cards and David McSweeney was shown the way to the dressing room. This only served to raise the decible level of the crowd, who were the most partisan seen at a Hitchin game for some time.

The delay caused by injuries to Dean Gilbert and Richard Howell added nine minutes to the first half.

Hitchin had the upper hand throughout the second half, but it was a frustrating 45 minutes for Colin Payne’s side. Mark Smith volleyed wide after a corner and Carl Williams’ low shot was saved by Walker. Zak Burke saw a couple of shots blocked and Jeff Hammond should have done better when set clear. Mostly, however, Billericay’s defence soaked up the pressure well. In the dying minutes,

Hitchin almost snatched victory when Burke’s shot was parried over by Walker.
It was clear at the final whistle who were more relieved, and it wasn’t Payne’s team – but the Essex side may have far more to say in the replay on Tuesday.

Billericay Town (0)0 Hitchin Town (0)0
Billericay: Walker, McSweeney, Cousins, Shinn, Kersey, Oates, Green (Bricknell 90), Pond, Baker, Slatter, Wareham (Chatting 69)
Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Grinham, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Velandia, Arlick, Hammond (Gentle-King 87), Howell (Burke 45)
Attendance: 327 (50 from Hitchin)
Referee: S.P.Butler

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