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Hitchin Town 3 Slough Town 2

Tuesday, October 13 2009

It was like an old-boys reunion at Top Field as a host of familiar faces turned up to watch a game between two of the bigger clubs in the Zamaretto Midlands Division.

Two former Hitchin managers were present, along with a host of ex-Canary players on and off the pitch, and Slough’s noisy contingent made for a night of expectation. A pity that less than 300 people saw the game, strangely below the Top Field average this season.

Hitchin and Slough didn’t disappoint, for it was as exhilarating 90 minutes and a fine advertisement for step four football.

The result was massive for Hitchin, who underlined their own credentials while putting some distance between themselves and Steve Bateman’s highly-fancied side.

Both sides had early chances, with Zak Burke and  Jamie Arlick both going close for Hitchin and former Hitchin midfielder Rob Kean and Elliott Buchanan responding for Slough.

Hitchin took the lead with a superbly executed goal by Jamie Arlick in the 37th minute. Ieuan Lewis, who had his best game of the season, played the ball across to the young striker and his first team effort gave another Hitchin old boy, Ricky Perks, no chance.

Hitchin could have extended their lead early in the second half when Burke (twice) and Lewis saw shots blocked in the space of a few seconds. At the other end, Slough’s new signing, Leon Hibbert fired over from close range.

The Canaries netted again in the 67th minute, Jeff Hammond brushing aside a challenge and sending a low, curling shot wide of Perks. Hammond’s joy was unrestrained, leaping wildly to celebrate his first goal of the season, suggesting a degree of pent-up frustration.

Slough were not beaten yet, and they hit back at Hitchin with a two-goal salvo in the space of five minutes. In the 74th minute, a scramble in the penalty area ended with Simon Martin pushing the ball over the line.

This clearly rejuvenated Slough and four minutes later, another scruffy goal was scored as Hibbert rolled his effort into the net. The visitors now had the upper hand and Hitchin looked to have lost their way.

In the 81st minute, the defensive lapses were forgotten as Richard Howell’s ran into the area and squared the ball to the onrushing Luke Donnelly who shot high into the net.

Martin had a golden opportunity to make it 3-3, but Hitchin held on to claim the points. Slough, perhaps not as fluid as Chesham in their play, will be among the front-runners and the return game at Beaconsfield, the adopted home of the Rebels, will be just as interesting.

Hitchin Town (1)3 Slough Town (0)2
1-0 Arlick 37 mins
2-0 Hammond 67 mins
2-1 Martin 74 mins
2-2 Hibbert 78 mins
3-2 L.Donnelly 81 mins

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Reece, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Hammond (Gentle-King 90), Arlick (Howell 68), L.Donnelly, Burke (B.Donnelly 85)

Slough Town: Perks, Sweeney, Fenton (Hayes 88), Kean, Bowden-Haase, Harper, Herron, Hibbert, Martin, Buchanan (O’Connor 61), Edgeworth

Referee: D.Flanagan

Attendance: 295 (50 from Slough)

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