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Hitchin Town 1 Chesham United 2

Saturday, September 19 2009

Hitchin’s glorious start to the season ended when they came up against a side that will undoubtedly be one of their main rivals as they bid to escape from the Zamaretto Midlands Division at the first attempt.

This was a riveting contest, however, and both teams provided plenty of entertainment for a very impressive crowd of 432. Everything about the 90 minutes suggested two sides who would be more at home in the Premier division, but the final whistle left Hitchin more to think about than the visitors.

Arlick goal celebrations v CheshamChesham looked by far the best team to play Hitchin so far this season, and with game against Slough and Bromsgrove on the horizon, Colin Payne knows he has to lift his players after two home defeats in a week.

There wasn’t much in it, as the 90th minute winner suggested. Hitchin had the first half, Chesham the second. But the visitors finished the stronger side and few people were prepared to contest the result.

Hitchin took the lead in the 12th minute when Jeff Hammond ran to the byline and crossed low for Jamie Arlick to turn the ball home. Within seconds, Chesham, who appeared troubled in the opening stages, responded when Danny Talbot’s free kick was spectacularly tipped over by Martin Bennett. Arlick then went close when he was teed up by Hammond but saw his shot saved by Chesham keeper Richard Hayward. Hammond also had a chance when he weaved past a defender and shot just wide.

Chesham were dangerous on the break, and Leon Archer – a constant menace – struck the woodwork twice in the latter part of the half, but right on half-time, Hammond was denied by Hayward after running onto a long ball.

The underlying feeling was that for all Hitchin’s pressure and chances, they had failed to capitalise on their superiority and Chesham may make them pay for their generosity.

It was an accurate assessment, for Chesham levelled after 53 minutes when Zak Burke v CheshamTalbot’s free kick was powerfully headed home at the far post by Sam Ledger.
A degree or two of frustration started to creep into Hitchin’s performance, notably in midfield where  Chesham seemed to have numeric advantage. For a while, it looked as if Hitchin would hang on, and it was clear to almost everyone that the 100% record, at least, was in danger.
And so too was the unbeaten run, for in the final minute, a cross from Chris Bangura sailed to the vulnerable far post and Steve Obeng swept the ball into the net.

There was no coming back for Hitchin, but at least Payne and his charges know the score. Chesham are a decent outfit and will be challenging all the way.

Hitchin Town (1)1 Chesham United (0)2
1-0 Arlick 12 mins
1-1 Ledger 53 mins
1-2 Obeng 90 mins

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Grinham (Payne h/t), Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Hammond, Arlick, Velandia (Gentle-King 66), Burke (Lee 54)
Chesham: Hayward, Kyriacou, Ledger, Adedeji, Talbot (Marsala 75), Lambert, Fotheringham, Wales (Obeng 75), Archer, Cox (Bangua 85), Bardle

Referee: R.McKay

Attendance: 432 (90 from Chesham)

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