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Biggleswade Town 1 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, November 6 2010

Hitchin extended their lead at the top of the Zamaretto Central Division to 10 points and pulled off a hard-earned 2-1 win against Biggleswade Town at the Carlsberg Stadium.

Burke and Lee dig out a win

They were worried about this one - and not without just cause. Hitchin's management team was very cautious about the short trip to the Carlsberg Stadium, and on the evidence of the home side's display, they were right to have been apprehensive. Biggleswade gave Hitchin arguably their toughest 90 minutes of the season and as the campaign progresses, this result is likely to look like better and better.

Danny PayneBiggleswade don't like to print their results in their matchday programme for fear of giving away any secrets about the way they are playing, but Hitchin knew all about a team that was packed with former Canaries. Memo to Biggleswade, the internet reveals all!. For the first 20 minutes, Hitchin were a little on the rack as the home side tried to gain the upper hand. They almost did, with central defender Steve Gentle - who can count himself lucky not to have received an early bath - striking the woodwork, and Martin Bennett demonstrating his suppleness in the opening stages.

When Hitchin took the lead after 24 minutes, it was really against the run of play, Zak Burke cutting inside in his customary style before shooting inside Dean Bull's right hand post. The shot didn't have much pace on it, and Bull could probably have done more to stop it finding the net.

The goal invigorated Hitchin and Callum Donnelly went close to making it 2-0 with a long range effort. But after the interval, Biggleswade came out in determined mood, despite losing their fragile but outstanding striker, Paul Barnes.

It was another former Hitchin striker, Brett Donnelly, who levelled the scores in the 55th minute. The Hitchin defence seemed to open up and allow the ball to roll to Donnelly who needed two attempts to fire past Bennett from six yards.

For a while, it looked as though Hitchin would be grateful for a point, but they started to create chances and Ieuan Lewis, who exposed the lack of pace in the Waders' defence, ran to the byline and pulled the ball back for Burke, who shot wide. But Hitchin had to be alert for Biggleswade breaks, notably when Craig Radcliffe's cross to the near post found Brett Donnelly, but his header was saved by Bennett.

But Hitchin's season has been characterised by being able to "pull something out of the hat" and in the 68th minute, they did just that. Richard Howell's corner sailed into the area and Louis Lee, who shouldn't have been allowed to get his header in, nodded the ball past Bull from 10 yards.

Both sides had chances to change the scoreline - Howell shooting over after a good turn for Hitchin, and a free header by Waders' Liam Folds both threatening to find the net.

There was a slight air of relief at the final whistle, but this was a valuable experience, the Canaries received a reminder that there are better sides than those that have leaked goals against Carl Williams' side in recent weeks.

Biggleswade Town (0)1 Hitchin Town (1)2
B.Donnelly 55              Burke 24
                                  Lee 68
Referee: I.J. Rathbone

Biggleswade Town

Hitchin Town
Dean Bull
Martin Bennett
Peter Gatti
Tony Fontenelle
Craig Radcliffe
Danny Payne
Liam Folds
Dean Gilbert
Steve Gentle (y 90)
Mark Smith
Steve Smith
Louis Lee
James Freshwater
Richard Howell
Stuart Lochhead (*Kevin Kilroy 75)
Callum Donnelly
Peter Barnes (* Lee Harman h/t)
Jamie Arlick
Brett Donnelly (y 44)
Zak Burke
Craig Rydeheard
Ieuan Lewis (y 26)
Kevin Kilroy (*75)
Luke Gregson
Paul Reynolds
Tom Pepper
Lee Harman (*h/t)
Carl Williams
Sam Pemberton
John Wordsworth
Michael Cox
Liam George

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