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Hitchin Town 3 Ashford Town (Middx) 3

Saturday, November 13 2010

Hitchin Town lost their 100% home record, drawing 3-3 with Ashford Town (Middx) in front of the season’s best crowd of 444 on the day the club held its “Forces Day”.

Held but still happy
There were no long faces, despite drawing at home for the first time since January. There was a time when failure to win would send Hitchin fans panicing for their league table. But the mood of optimism at Top Field meant that everyone saw this as a blip. To give Ashford credit, they gave Hitchin a very difficult afternoon – especially if you are a defender lining up at a corner kick.

For it was from corners that Ashford scored all three of their goals. Coupled with a bad night in the penalty area against Ware, manager Carl Williams has received a couple of reminders that he has to sort a few things out.

It all started so promisingly, with John Frendo turning the ball into the net from Tom Pepper’s cross after 100 seconds. But Ashford came back strongly and in the eighth minute they drew level – Martin Bennett punching the ball into his own net from a corner.
Six minutes later, another corner left Hitchin red-faced, with Alain Behi jumping to nod the ball itno the net at the far post.

Suddenly, the pre-match tune from the TA marching band, “The Great Escape”, seemed quite apprioriate. Ashford’s pace and tenacity was clearly upsetting Hitchin and just before the interval, there was another blow for the Canaries. Leading scorer Jamie Arlick went down and when the stretcher was called you feared the worst for Hitchin’s talented striker.

Arlick’s partner, Frendo, staged a one-man battle against the Ashford defence. In the first half, he went close with a volley and after the break, the struck the woodwork after foraging his way through a sea of tangerine striped shirts.

But Frendo did get back on the scoresheet in the 64th minute, sliding the ball past Jackson Franks after being teed-up by Zak Burke.

Frendo turned provider in the 70th minute when he raced to the byline, pulled the ball back and via a deft touch by Burke, set up Richard Howell who swept the ball into the net.

Ashford were not finished, however, and five minutes from time, yet another corner ended with Jones Awuah firing into the net from close range.

It could have been worse for Hitchin if Bennett hadn’t pulled off a save right at the death.  It may not have been to Williams’ liking, but it was a highly entertaining afternoon for the neutrals,  and there were a few of those in the ground on “Forces Day”.

Hitchin Town (1)3 Ashford Town (Middx) (2)3
Frendo 2,64         Bennett OG 8, Behi 14
Howell 70            Awuah 85

Attendance: 444
Referee: D.Flanagan

Hitchin TownAshford Town (Middx)
Martin Bennett1Jackson Franks
Tony Fontenelle (y)2Samad Kazi  (y)
Tom Pepper3Akasi Edusei
Dean Gilbert4Martynas Butitus
Mark Smith5Russell Canderton
Louis Lee6Alain Behi (* Mark Bidmead h/t)
Richard Howell7Jordan Kiffin
Callum Donnelly8Luke Hickie
Jamie Arlick (*Ieuan Lewis 44)9Jamie Lawrence (*Tyrone Berry 25)
John Frendo (y)10Isaiah Rankin (*Thomas Kanek 55)
Zak Burke  (*Liam George 73)11Jones Awuah
Ieuan Lewis (*44)sTyrone Berry (*25)
John WordsworthsThomas Kanek (*55)
Luke GregsonsMark Bidmead (*h/t)
Liam George (*73)sBairoh Conteh
Danny PaynesTom Betts 

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