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Bury Town 0 Hitchin Town 0

Tuesday, March 23 2010

Hitchin struck a huge psychological blow in the Zamaretto Midlands Division title race when they drew 0-0 with fellow title chasers Bury Town, and were within a whisker of coming away with all three points.

In fact, if the Canaries had converted their 53rd minute penalty kick, they would have won this excellent contest. It was clear who was the most relieved side at the end of 90 minutes - and it was not Hitchin. “We got out of jail tonight,” said one Bury official as the fans streamed out of Ram Meadow.

A big crowd of 662 turned up to watch two sides that have blazed a trail all season. The first half was an even affair, highlighted by a 44th minute effort from Bury's Lee Underwood that struck the outside of the post. Hitchin’s best chance of the half fell to Zak Burke, who cut inside and shot too high.

Hitchin came out stronger in the second period, and dominated the next 45 minutes. In the 52nd minute, they had the chance to open the scoring. A cross from Burke struck the hand of Bury defender Tom Bullard and referee Glen Sandell pointed straight to the spot. Jamie Arlick's penalty kick, hit low and hard, struck the woodwork and bounced to safety.

Bury were constantly pressured in the half, with Hitchin's tigerish midfield, notably the impressive Luke Donnelly, now allowing the home side time to think. As the game wore on, a Hitchin goal seemed likely. Tony Fontenelle went close after weaving his way into the area, and Harry Hunt met a high ball from the Canaries' defender before seeing his shot blocked by Bury keeper Marcus Garnham. Ieuan Lewis did well to shield the ball before shooting high across goal from a narrow angle. Richard Howell also had a late shot in front of goal, but it lacked the pace to seriously trouble Garnham.

Hitchin still had to be on their guard, however, Dean Gilbert cleared one effort off the line and Martin Bennett's late save from Kieran Leabon prevented a winner from the home side.

Hitchin's fans, numbering around 100, gave their team a prolonged ovation at the end - and rightly so. The shame of it is only one side will gain direct promotion, but on the evidence of this game, both teams may meet again in the Premier next season.

Bury Town (0)0 Hitchin Town (0)0
Bury: Garnham, Short, Coker, Andrews, Johnson, Bullard, Kearns, Underwood (Ingram 85), Leabon, L.Reed, Henderson (S.Reed 68)
Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Fontenelle, Williams (Lee 90), Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, L.Donnelly, Arlick, Hunt (Hammond 78), Burke (Howell 68)

Attendance: 662 (100 from Hitchin)
Referee: G.Sandell



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