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Hitchin Town 1 Soham Town Rangers 2

Tuesday, March 30 2010

Was this a defining moment in Hitchin’s season? Quite a few people streaming out of Top Field believed so. While Bury and Burnham were winning at Barton and Chesham respectively, the Canaries slipped up in the Top Field swimming pool to lose three valuable points.

There are many twists to come, but this may have been a damaging blow to the Canaries title hopes. And in all honesty, Soham deserved the points – they made life very hard for Hitchin and could have had a comfortable victory.
Hitchin even had the perfect start, going ahead after seven minutes with a well-crafted goal. Richard Howell sent over a cross to the near post and Harry Hunt headed home.

But it all fell away from that point and it was no surprise when Charles Libam headed Soham level on 36 minutes. Libam was a constant menace and could have had another before the break.

If Jamie Arlick had scored just after the interval, things might have been different, but Hitchin struggled to find a way past Soham, who themselves showed more adventure in the second half. Howell’s prowess at free kicks almost reaped a reward in the 54th minute when his kick from a tight angle scraped against a post, but increasingly there was a sense of anxiety about the home side.

Dubi Ogbonna went close with a low shot and then Libam saw his header pushed for a corner by Martin Bennett. The Canaries keeper, who has deceived by the conditions nine minutes from time as a seemingly innocuous through ball was misjudged and Ogbonna simply had to roll the ball into the net. A cruel blow for one of Hitchin’s most consistent performers.

It was a stunner for Hitchin and the pace quickened in the dying minutes. Hunt met a Tony Fontenelle cross at the near post, only for his flick to be saved by Jamie Chamberlain, and Tom Pepper rifled a shot wide. And in a goalmouth melee, Jon Stevenson scythed the ball wide. In added time, Hunt was brought down amid amplified cries for a penalty, but Mr Margetts was having none of it.

This was a night when nothing went right for Hitchin, and they need to recover quickly if they are to avoid extra games at the end of the campaign…

Hitchin Town (1)1 Soham Town Rangers (1)2
1-0 Hunt 7 mins; 1-1 Libam 36 mins; 1-2 Ogbonna 81 mins

Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Fontenelle, L.Donnelly (Stevenson 45), Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Lee, Arlick (Hammond 72), Hunt, Howell (Burke 74)
Soham: Chamberlain, Reed, Johnson, Bromwich, Libratore, Simpson, Hipwell (Napier 71), Carter, Libam (Furnell 77), Ogbonna (Gammon 88), Turner

Referee: D.Margetts
Attendance: 238 (half a dozen from Soham)

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