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FC Clacton 0 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, August 29 2009

As banana skins go, this would have been a big slip-up if the Canaries had come away from the Rush Green Bowl a beaten side. Fortunately, one goal was enough to see off FC Clacton, but victory was achieved at a price, a dislocated shoulder for in-form Richard Howell.

Clacton v HitchinHitchin were comfortable winners, despite the honest endeavour of the home side, who took no prisoners when it came to challenging for the ball. However, they gave a good account of themselves and Hitchin manager Colin Payne will be pleased to have got out of Clacton with reputations intact.

It wasn’t a pretty game by any means, largely due to a drought-ridden pitch that was both bumpy and dusty. Early pressure from Hitchin failed to bring any excitement and the home side – clearly motivated and eager to spoil Hitchin’s day – allowed them little space.

Howell and Dean Gilbert both had efforts saved but in the 34th minute, the Canaries took the lead. A cross by Jamie Arlick found the head of the unmarked Luke Donnelly and he nonchalantly headed into the net with the Clacton defence static.

The second half was no better from a spectator point of view, although Clacton’s “Bus Shelter” provided a good rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. But just as they claimed they had “just killed a man”, Howell went down with a bad injury that was eventually diagnosed as a dislocated shoulder.

Howell had been one of Hitchin’s better players, but Arlicik had also caused problems in the early stages of the second period. Clacton had their one shot of note during this period, a long range effort from Mark White that sailed over the bar.

Hitchin brought Jeff Hammond into the action in the place of Howell and he showed plenty of energy. He should have scored when Arlick set him up, but his shot rolled wide. Arlick, too, went close in the closing stages, but Donnelly’s goal proved enough.

FC Clacton (0)0 Hitchin Town (1)1
0-1 L.Donnelly 34 mins

FC Clacton: Gould, Gibson, Taylor (Biscoe 89), D.Smith (Pereira 89), Ribchester, Heighway, Craven (Noble 71), P.Hillier, White, S.Hillier, Waters
Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Grinham, Howell (Hammond 60), Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, L.Donnelly, Arlick (B.Donnelly 89), Velandia (Lee 78), Burke

Referee: M.Cooper
Attendance: 159 (60 from Hitchin)

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