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Hitchin Town 2 Stourport Swifts 1

Saturday, March 13 2010

These are nervous times at Top Field and there could be more to come. After a 2-0 defeat at Chesham, Colin Payne's men bounced back with an untidy but essential victory, thanks to skipper Dean Gilbert's late winner. With Burnham, Slough and Chesham all dropping points, it was a good afternoon's work by Hitchin,

Hitchin could have taken an early lead in the first half, but their finishing was wasteful. Jamie Arlick, with a tame shot, struck the woodwork. Jeff Hammond, preferred to Harry Hunt, should have done better when he met a Tom Pepper cross and nodded wide.

In the 16th minute, Hitchin fel they should have had a penalty when Hammond was upended, but they didn't have to wait long for in the 18th minute, Arlick went down and a spot kick was awarded. Hitchin's leading scorer netted with ease.
Top Field, which was swelled by the presence of almost 70 ladies who had taken advantage of the free admission initiative, was silenced in the 31st minute when Alex Lavery headed home from six yards.

Hitchin opened the second period well, with Arlick lobbing just over the bar and Zak Burke denied by Stourport keeper Paul Evans.

It was a frustrating half, with Hitchin unable to find their rhythm and Stourport proving difficult to break down. With 15 minutes remaining, the breakthrough was made. Following some good approach work, Hunt's shot was partially blocked and Gilbert slotted home the rebound.

Stourport were not going to lie down, however and Lavery had a fierce shot tipped over by Martin Bennett. In added time, Hitchin almost grabbed a third when Burke's shot was parried by Evans,

Hitchin Town (1)2 Stourport Swifts (1)1

1-0 Arlick pen 18, 1-1 Lavery 31, 2-1 Gilbert 75

Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Fontenelle, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, Lee (Stevenson 69), Arlick, Hammond (Hunt 53), Howell (Burke 53)
Stourport: Evans, Benbow (Polan 77), Robinson, Aldington (Insull 77), Whittal-Williams, Jones, R.Tompkins,  L.Tompiks, Triane, Cornes (Gayton 68), Lavery

Attendance: 370 (less than half a dozen from Stourport)
Referee: S.Pawley

To see a photo gallery of the game, click here

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