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Chesham United 2 Hitchin Town 0

Saturday, March 6 2010

Harry Hunt in action at CheshamHitchin manager Colin Payne summed it up perfectly: "Second best". Not for the first time this season, Chesham out-thought and out-fought Hitchin. Unsurprisingly, Payne said before the game that Chesham were the best side the Canaries had faced - the evidence was there for all to see. And as the home sent Hitchin to second place, for the first time this season, doubts crept into the minds of the clubs loyal fanbase.

Hitchin have games with Bury, Burnham and Slough to come - all away. With Burnham leapfrogging the Canaries, and in danger of extending their three point lead to six in midweek, the margin for error has been eroded. With so many sides that much weaker than the "big five", it will be the clashes with sides like Chesham that will decide the pecking order at the end of the season.

Hitchin were hustled out of the game from the opening minutes. There was a vigour about Chesham that the Hitchin midfield and defence could not deal with. In fact, they could have taken a very early lead when a lazy shot from Steve Wales was saved by Martin Bennett. The warning sides were there, and in the 18th minute, the Hitchin backline opened up as Wales ran through and slid the ball to Chris Bangura who shot home.

There was a let off for the Canaries when Tom Pepper cleared off the line on the half hour, but Hitchin had a golden chance to level the scores in the 35th minute, Harry Hunt failing to connect with a cross by Ieuan Lewis. Within second, Chesham had extended their lead, a long ball causing problems in the Hitchin defence and John Frendo stroked his effort into the net.

Although Chesham had few chances in the second half, they were able to contain anything Hitchin could throw at them. Only a 35-yard effort from Jon Stevenson - one of two half-time changes - tested Richard Hayward.

The Chesham goalkeeper was red carded in the 70th minute after bringing down Jeff Hammond with a cynical challenge. As Hayward trudged off to the cries of "cheat" from the Hitchin fans, hopes were raised of a late recovery, but it was not to be. Hitchin still struggled to test stand-in Sam Ledger, although Hammond and Zak Burke both went close. And with time running out, Richard Howell hooked a shot against the crossbar.

So Chesham ended a week in which they have beaten two challengers - Slough and Hitchin. Their management team must be kicking themselves, however. For a team that looks to have the most generous playing resources, they have thrown away some careless points. Even after an excellent week, the play-offs seem to be the best they can hope for. Hitchin will be hoping that they don't come against Andy Leese's side again this season...

Chesham United (2)2 Hitchin Town (0)0

1-0 Bangura 18, 2-0 Frendo 36

Chesham: Hayward, Kyriacou, Ledger, Leach, Talbot, Lambert, Fotheringham, Wales (Laws 76), Frendo (Gudgeon 88), Bangura, Obeng
Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Ducket (Howell 65),Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Lee (Stevenson h/t), Arlick, Hunt (Hammond h/t), Burke

Attendance: 378
Referee: J.Mellor



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