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Hitchin Town 2 Romulus 0

Saturday, February 6 2010

Hitchin have perfected the art of grinding out results and this game was a good example of a side driving forwards towards achieving its goal - in this case the Zamaretto Midlands Division title.

Goals at either end of the 90 minutes were enough to give Colin Payne's men the three points.Payne expected a difficult afternoon against a team that was unbeaten in 11 league and cup games, and it was far from comfortable. In fact, Romulus could have opened the scoring before Hitchin had got started, but goalkeeper Martin Bennett stopped a close range effort from Marcus Brown.

It didn't take long for the Canaries to gain the upper hand, Ieuan Lewis dribbling 30 yards before sending a low drive wide of visiting custodian Matt Sargeant. This was the start of a period of fast-flowing football during which Hitchin could have extended their lead on four occasions, notably when Jamie Arlick almost scored after Richard Howell had seen his shot saved. Lewis, Harry Hunt - with a six-yard header - and Arlick all had opportunities to build up a commanding lead.Romulus perhaps should have equalised when Nick Heath's cross was headed down by Lei Brown and Marcus Brown volleyed wide.

At the start of the second period, they had another good chance, but Tom Wilmore scooped over from close range.It was a scruffy second half, but Hitchin still edged the contest and if Louis Lee and Arlick had been more accurate with their shooting, the Canaries would have been home and dry.

As it was, they had to rely on an 89th minute goal from an unlikely source. Jon Stevenson was introduced as a substitute in the 75th minute, and although he is some way off full fitness, he stabbed the ball home from close range after Zak Burke's free kick had initially been met by Jamie Arlick.

Stevenson celebrated as if he had scored a very vital goal - it may well be that his match-clinching effort could turn out to be very important.

Hitchin Town (1)2 Romulus (0)0

1-0 Lewis 6 mins; 2-0 Stevenson 89 mins

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Pepper, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Lee (Stevenson 75), Arlick, Hunt (Hammond 73), Howell (Burke 65)
Romulus: Sargeant, Douglas (Jackson 73), Evans, Tiernan, Munday, Wilmore, Heath, Franklin, Fagan (Leo Brown 78), M.Brown (Beckley 81), Lei Brown

Attendance: 356 (half a dozen from Romulus)
Referee: O.Sally

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