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Sutton Coldfield 1 Hitchin Town 3

Monday, April 12 2010

Hitchin drew level on points with league leaders Bury Town with a very professional performance against play-off aspirants Sutton Coldfield. And for the second game running, they came from behind to secure victory.

Hitchin knew they were in for a tough evening and the first 20 minutes underlined that. A hard and bumpy pitch meant the ball moved around at pace and Sutton were in no mood to drop points in their pursuit of the play-off. Both sides had early half chances, Hitchin through Richard Howell, who saw his header fumbled by home keeper Steve Jackson.

But it was Sutton Coldfield that took the lead in the 22nd minute, a header from Sam Wilson that went in off the post. They were ahead for only three minutes, however. Howell, who was enjoying one of his most effective games, took a free kick and Jamie Arlick darted in at the near post to score with a fine header.

Four minutes later, Howell and Arlick combined to set up Harry Hunt, who applied a cool finish from 10 yards.

It got worse for Sutton Coldfield in the early stages of the second period. In the 48th minute, Ed Booth was sent off after his second yellow card, an off the ball incident involving Harry Hunt. From the resulting free kick, Howell's free kick landed in the area and Arlick netted from close range.

Hitchin started to make the extra man count and Hunt and Arlick both went close to adding to the lead. Hunt dribbled round Jackson in typical style, but was blocked, and then Hitchin's leading scorer saw a header well saved. Hunt also had a volley that was well saved by Jackson, and Carl Williams shot over the bar as Hitchin turned the screw.

Martin Bennett was not without work and he pulled off a save from Sutton Colfield substitute Matt Jamille.

An important win for the Canaries, who have the psychological boost of drawing level on points at the top. The title race is shaping up for a very exciting finale.

Sutton Coldfield (1)   Hitchin Town (2)

1-0 Wilson 22; 1-1 Arlick 25; 1-2 Hunt 29; 1-3 Arlick 49

Sutton: Jackson, Kettle (Milner 64), Milligan, Wood, Booth, Murrall, Dodd, Owen, Ball, Marshall, Wilson (Jamille 55)
Subs: Wilson, Jamille, Milner, Stamps, Quiggin, Hands (gk)
Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Fontenelle, Williams, Smith, Gilbert, Lewis, L.Donnelly, Arlick (Hammond 81), Hunt, Howell (Burke 78)
Subs: Hammond, Burke, Stevenson, Munday and Dunn (gk)

Referee: A.J. Horton
Attendance: 184 (40 from Hitchin)

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