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Woodford United 1 Hitchin Town 3

Saturday, August 22 2009

Three wins from three games represents the best Hitchin start to a season since 2003, but listening to the post mach on-pitch debate suggested that the Canaries’ management team was far from satisfied by the team’s performance.

Jamie Arlick in action at Woodford, August 22 2009There were few complaints from the Hitchin faithful, all 60 of them that made the trip to sleepy Woodford Halse, swelling the crowd to 118.

But it is at places like Woodford that Hitchin will have to build their promotion campaign. And for the first half, at least, the Canaries looked every bit promotion candidates.

The second half was a different affair and there were a few concerns at the way Woodford fought their way back into the game when they should have been out of sight.

The first 45 minutes saw Hitchin completely dominate their hosts and a two-goal lead looked scant reward for their efforts.

After some early pressure, Zak Burke opened the scoring after  16 minutes, sending  a low shot past the unsighted Woodford keeper after the home side failed to clear their lines. Jamie Arlick had two chances to extend that lead with headers but it was defender Mark Smith who went closest, striking the crossbar from point-blank range following a corner.

Hitchin did finally score again a minute from half-time, Arlick glancing his header into the net from a Burke corner. It was Arlick’s third goal in as many games.

It was a less composed Hitchin that came out after the interval and Woodford looked to have found something extra. Ashley Grinham headed one effort off the line before Woodford were awarded a penalty for a Luke Donnelly trip on Ollie Manooch. Although Martin Bennett saved Karl Fellows spot-kick, the Woodford defender followed up to score.

There were some anxious moments for the Canaries, but in the 72nd minute, substitute Richard Howell eased the pressure when he ran 30 yards with the ball before placing a low shot wide into the bottom corner of the net.

Burke could have had another near the end, but 3-1 away from home was a good afternoon’s work for Colin Payne’s resurgent side, who are now two points clear at the top of the Midlands Division.

Woodford United (0)1 Hitchin Town (2)3

0-1 Burke 16 mins
0-2 Arlick 44 mins
1-2 Fellows 55 mins
1-3 Howell 72 mins

Woodford: Finlay, Pearman (Peppiati 78), Fitton, Parkinson, Jackson, Fellows, Hariss, Fountain, Foster (Maoochehri h/t), Hawkins, King
Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Grinham, Williams, Gilbert, Smith, Lewis, L.Donnelly, Arlick (Lee 72), Velandia (Howell 64), Burke

Attendance: 118 (60 from Hitchin)
Referee: Mr Smith

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