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Hitchin Town 2 Daventry Town 0

Monday, May 2 2011

And so, justice was done. The greatest day in the life of Hitchin Town in more than a decade. A glorious endorsement of the principles by which the club is run. “We are a proper football club that tries to do things the right way,” said manager Carl Williams in his emotional post-match address to supporters via the public address system. "And today we are winners."

What a marvellous
day for the Canaries. For the third time in a week, a healthy percentage of the town’s population watched the team in its pursuit of promotion. Two 1,000-plus crowds queued down Fishponds Road to see Hitchin Town in action – no other sport in town can draw such crowds. Try telling those present that there is a better use of Top Field than Zamaretto Premier Division football!

Hitchin were totally focused on the task in hand, despite the pre-match nerves. In the first half, Daventry, for long periods, looked the better side with goalscoring chances for Adam Confue (a volley) and Tom Berwick’s shot that took a deflection for a corner.

Gilbert goal v DaventryWhen a goal came, it was for Hitchin. In the 39th minute, Ieuan Lewis crossed to the near post and John Frendo controlled the ball, swiveled and shot home in style – a goal to grace a higher stage!

Daventry had a good chance to equalize just after the interval when Martin Bennett dropped a high ball andTom Berwick blasted over the open goal.

But in the 60th minute, the Canaries scored again, Dean Gilbert heading past Daventry goalkeeper Andrew Kemp at the near post from a Richard Howell free kick.

Hitchin lived dangerously for a while and in the space of 30 seconds, Daventry’s Josh Blake and Rusell Dunkley hit the woodwork with headers, the latter forcing Canaries goalkeeper Martin Bennett to make a spectacular save.

Daventry’s retaliation died out, though and Hitchin could have added a third in the closing stages when Callum Donnelly raced clear and set up Jamie Arick, but the finish just wasn’t there.

When the final whistle eventually came – this was  a 100 minute game – it sparked off celebrations that went on long into the night. After two years in exile, Hitchin are back at Step 3, and no-one enjoyed it more than their young manager.

Hitchin Town (1)2 Daventry Town (0)0
Frendo 39
Gilbert 60

Attendance: 1,048

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Bickerstaff, Gilbert, Wordsworth, Lee, Howell, Donnelly, Burke (Arlick 49), Frendo, Lewis
Booking: Lee 87

Daventry Town: Kemp, Stacey, Williams, Lee, Parkinson, Dowling (Blake 56), Howell, Confue, Berwick, Dunkley, O’Grady (James 78)
Bookings: Stacey 59, Williams 43, Howell 28, Confue 73, Dunkley 82

Referee: M.Pottage

Photos: Johnny Woodhead

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