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Soham Town Rangers 3 Hitchin Town 2

Tuesday, December 8 2009

Messrs Payne and Williams warned there would be days (or nights) like these. This was, hopefully, a “glitch” for the Canaries, a little setback in an otherwise season of destiny. Well, that was the interpretation by the bulk of Hitchin’s supporters after this dramatic defeat in the fens.

Hitchin were coasting at 10 minutes past eight, but by the final whistle, their unbeaten away record lay in tatters. And it was lost in the most unlikely of places – against a team that had forgotten how to win games at home and had also forgotten how to defend – 18 goals in their previous four games.

It all started so promisingly, with two goals in the first 21 minutes. Ieuan Lewis, who has discovered his shooting boots, scored in the 18th minute with a volley that bobbled its way into the net, and on 21 minutes, Harry Hunt lifted the ball over Soham keeper Ian Pledger  to grab his first Hitchin goal.

While the optimists were predicting a scoreline to compare with Soham’s recent six-goal mauling at Sutton Coldfield, the home side dragged themselves back into the game. In fact, they had a number of chances, with midfielder Michael Simpson their most dangerous attacker. It was Simpson that pulled a goal back in the 42nd minute, nodding the ball into the net at the far post from a Richard Gammon cross.

Hitchin struggled in the second half and another goal from Soham seemed inevitable. But Hitchin settled down and Lewis, with two efforts, tested Pledger. But in the 73rd minute, Deakin Napier, a puckish figure on the wing, robbed Tom Pepper and then sent a curling shot into the top corner of the net.

Hitchin were reeling, but they found a second wind and created a hatful of chances, notably in a frantic scramble where Luke Donnelly hit the bar and Louis Lee then sent the rebound against the woodwork. Jamie Arlick saw a neat header cleared off the line by Scott Johnson and Hunt drove just wide as the game drew to a close.

In added time, Charles Libam’s cross was turned into the net by Dean Gilbert to give Soham an unlikely victory, leaving Hitchin frustrated. Four points from a three game spell against strugglers was not what Colin Payne ordered and with Burnham, Rothwell and Arlesey on the horizon, the Hitchin manager will no doubt be reading the riot act to his careless side.

Soham Town Rangers (1)3 Hitchin Town (2)2
0-1 Lewis 18 mins
0-2 Hunt 21 mins
1-2 Simpson 42 mins
2-2 Napier 73 mins
3-2 Gilbert OG 90 mins

Soham: Pledger, Flanz (Napier 23), Johnson, Bromwich, Liberatore, Simpson, Hipwell, Reed, Gammon (Libam 75), Ogbonna (Furnell 61), Carter
Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Pemberton, Williams, Lee, Gilbert, Lewis, L.Donnelly, Arlick, Hunt, Hammond (Smith 65)

Attendance: 120 (40 from Hitchin)
Referee: C.Francis

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