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Leighton Town 3 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, April 2 2011

Frendo scores from the penalty spot at LeightonIf someone had a barometer at hand at Leighton, the readings would have been interesting. In the opening stages, Hitchin fans were screaming their frustration at the players as the Canaries went a goal down. By half-time, with Hitchin 2-1 ahead, they were on cloud nine. But by the final whistle, the dial had sunk to new levels as Leighton grabbed the points and almost certainly sent Hitchin to the play-offs.

Hitchin fell behind after just five minutes, a chipped effort by James Hatch after a flowing move downfield. But for most of the first half, the Canaries were on top and it seemed only a matter of time before they would level the scores. Richard Howell had a good cross-come-shot that sailed across the face of goal, but mostly it was possession over punch.

When a goal came, in the 38th minute, it was from the penalty spot. John Frendo was brought down in the area and the same player got up to score with ease (pictured).  Three minutes later, Hitchin were ahead, Frendo’s speculative effort bouncing against the woodwork and Zak Burke following up to shoot past Kevin Marsh.

So, Hitchin went in on top, but the smiles turned to frowns very quickly. In the 52nd minute, Hatch’s far post header was knocked in by central defender Peter Clifford to bring Leighton level. Seconds earlier, Hitchin could have extended their lead if Louis Lee’s shot had not been blocked in the six yard box.

Confidence seemed to visibly drain from the Hitchin team at this point – a symptom of their problems of late – and Leighton’s by contrast, grew. In the 66th minute, a free kick resulted in Alex O’Brien scoring direct from just outside the penalty area.

Jamie Arlick, who replaced Richard Howell, had the chance to square things up, but his shot was wide of the target, but Leighton also had their opportunities to seal the points, notably when Ben Gallant chipped just over the bar.

A miserable afternoon, then, for the many Hitchin fans that travelled to Leighton Buzzard, and also more questions to be answered by Carl Williams and Mark Burke. With the title now looking a distant prospect now, they must lift everyone for the cup-tie environment that is the play-offs.

Leighton Town 3-2 Hitchin Town
Hatch 5                Frendo (pen) 38
Clifford 52             Burke 41
O'Brien 66

Attendance: 271

Referee: A.R. Piggott

Leighton TownHitchin Town
Kevin Marsh1Martin Bennett
Grant Fryer2Tony Fontenelle (y 90)
Louis Norton3Josh Bickerstaff
Sam Chapman4Dean Gilbert (y 87)
Peter Clifford5Louis Lee
Ross Hanley6Luke Gregson (*64 Danny Payne)
Matt Hewitt7Richard Howell (*64 Jamie Arlick)
Alex O'Brien8Callum Donnelly
Ben Gallant9Zak Burke
James Hatch10John Frendo
Lewis McBride11Ieuan Lewis
Antony MouldssJamie Arlick (*64)
Jack AmblersLiam George
Jamie OsbornesCarl Williams
Jack CopsonsDanny Payne (*64)
Dan HutchinssJohn Wordsworth

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