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Rothwell Town 0 Hitchin Town 1

Thursday, April 22 2010

And so, the Zamaretto Midlands Division title will be decided on the final day of the season. Like two heavyweight boxers, who have been slugging away at their opponents all season, Hitchin and Bury, both on 99 points, will fight one last bout - against Burnham and Marlow respectively, to earn the right to automatic promotion.

Hitchin nearly gave Bury a massive advantage by failing to win, but a goal three minutes from time settled this game of tired legs and minds. Louis Lee netted the winner from close range after a goalmouth scramble.

It was a night when few things went right, but not for the first time, Hitchin's durability came to the fore.

The Canaries felt that a penalty should have been awarded early on when Jamie Arlick was brought down in the area, but no such luck. In a first half that saw Hitchin dominate the posession stakes, Luke Donnelly shot wide and Arlick headed past the post.

Rothwell went close when Kevin Byrne's header was superbly saved by Martin Bennett, but the half ended with Hitchin on top and Arlick seeing his shot whistle past the post.

Hitchin were given the chance to open the scoring in the 46th minute. Harry Hunt was brought down in the area and he took the penalty kick himself, but his effort was saved by Lee Crockett.

Rothwell were reduced to 10 men in the 77th minute when Jason Turner received two yellow cards in quick succession. Hitchin frantically pushed forward in a bid to win the game and just as the 30-odd travelling fans had abandoned hope of victory, Lee popped up to emerge as the hero of the hour.

Normally, 31 wins would guarantee a title, but Hitchin's lament is that two sides have been burning on all cylinders throughout the campaign. The phone lines will be busy on Saturday between Burnham and Bury....

Rothwell Town (0)0 Hitchin Town (0)1

0-1 Lee 87

Rothwell: Crockett, Goodman, Maddox, Maude, Sturgess, White, Darby (Goodall 60), Flannigan, Byrne, Wright, Turner
Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Fontenelle, L.Donnelly, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Lee, Arlick (Hammond 54), Hunt, Burke (Howell 64)

Attendance: 111
Referee: M.Bingham

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