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Hitchin Town 0 Billericay Town 1

Tuesday, November 24 2009

Hitchin crashed out of the FA Trophy at the hands of Ryman Premier Division Billericay on a frustrating night for the Canaries’ fans.

The Essex side didn’t create much in the way of chances, but scored the vital goal just before the interval. As for Colin Payne’s men, they lacked the invention to get past a steadfast Billericay defence.

Even Payne admitted that his first half stance was perhaps unsuitable against the solid wall that was the Billericay defence. Jamie Arlick was posted up front alone and although the youngster gave his usual commitment, he was ploughing a lone furrow.

Hitchin felt the affect of Saturday’s bruising encounter at Billericay, Mark Smith was sidelined and Richard Howell was still recovering from a series of industrial challenges. Louis Lee came into defence, and performed well, and Luke Donnelly returned to action. But with only one striker on the field,opportunites were few and far between.

Arlick did have a good header in front of goal saved by Andy Walker and Ieuan Lewis ended a powerful run with a shot wide. But it was Billericay that opened the scoring six minutes from the break. Danny Green played the ball across goal and although to chances from Danny Slatter were saved and blocked, James Baker volleyed home one of the rebounds from close range.

Hitchin stepped up the pace in the second period, with Jeff Hammond coming on to double the strike force. In the opening seconds, a leggy run by Tony Fontenelle ended with Zak Burke shooting wide, and then Arlick, racing onto a long ball, was denied by the onrushing Walker.

The Canaries certainly played better than their first half offering, but once more, they could not penetrate the Billericay defence.

Twelve minutes from time, the ball did fly into the visitors’ net, but the Assistant Referee’s flag was flagging furiously before the cross came in. There was further angst for Hitchin in the final minute when Ashley Grinham was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident.

“It’s back to the league,” said Colin Payne. “It’s disappointing to go out, but I honestly believe Billericay will finish a lot higher than their position currently suggests.”

Hitchin Town (0)0 Billericay Town (1)1
0-1 Baker 39 mins

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Grinham, Williams, Lee, Gilbert, Lewis, Velandia (Hammond h/t), Arlick, L.Donnelly, Burke
Billericay: Walker, McSweeney, Cousins, Shinn, Kersey, Oates, Green, Pond, Baker (Wareham 89), Bricknell, Slatter

Referee: S.Butler
Attendance: 219

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