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Rugby Town 1 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, August 14 2010

Hitchin Town's opening day ends in a draw against Rugby Town at Butlin Road, confirming manager Carl Williams's view that the home side would represent a tricky start for the Canaries as they bid to go one better than last season. 

Difficult ball game at Rugby

Kicking off with optimistic sunshine – appropriate at the start of a season – but ending with a Wagnerian backdrop of thunder and lightning, Hitchin and Rugby played out a fairly tepid draw at Butlin Road.

Freshly relegated Rugby Town may be, but Canaries’ manager Carl Williams was spot on with his prediction that the home side would represent a hurdle. But while Hitchin will consider Rugby a tough place to start the season, Martin Sockett’s side may scarcely have a more daunting afternoon this season.

Jamie Arlick after putting Hitchin aheadA draw it was, and a draw was about right, although if you got extra points for finishing the stronger team, then Hitchin would have come away from Rugby with all three points.

Neither side looked too convincing in the first half and there were few chances. If Jamie Arlick had been a little more precise with his shooting, he may have given Hitchin an early advantage, but likewise, if it was not for Martin Bennett’s reflexes, Rugby’s Paddy Connelly’s shot would have found the net.

Just as it looked as though the luck wasn’t with Hitchin, they were awarded a penalty when Dean Gilbert was held back following a high ball into the area. Arlick stepped up to score his first goal since last season.

Hitchin’s lead did not last too long, for three minutes into the season period, Rugby levelled with a tame header from Seb Hamilton, who met a free kick from Ben Steane none too convincingly.

The Canaries came back well, but were rarely let near the Rugby goal. Arlick did well to create his own chance, but just as he went to execute, a defender deflected his shot. Then Zak Burke – who looked Hitchin’s most dangerous player – cut inside and sent his shot wide of the goal.

Late efforts from Tom Mustapha, who had replaced the injured Bradley Harrison, and another low shot by Burke that caught the grease of the turf, also threatened to break the deadlock as time ran out.

A good result? Judging by the post-match conversation on the pitch, Williams didn’t look too happy, but he expected a difficult 90 minutes, and he kind of got just that...

Rugby Town (0)1 Hitchin Town (1)1
Hamilton 48        Arlick 33 -pen

Attendance: 243
Referee: M.Bingham

Rugby TownHitchin Town
Dave Clarke1Martin Bennett
Nick Heath2Tony Fontenelle
Danny Phips-Hall3Tom Pepper
Nik Preston  (Y 37)4Dean Gilbert
Callum Burgess5Mark Smith
Craig Civills  (Y 32)6Louis Lee (*Glen Lamacraft 75)
Ben Steane7Zak Burke
Paddy Connelly8Callum Donnelly ( Y 80)
Seb Hamilton (Kieran Fitzharris 87)9Jamie Arlick
Danny Edmund (Warwick Alexander)10Bradley Harri/tson (*Tom Mustapha h/t)
Richard Wesley11Ieaun Lewis
Kieran FiztharrissGlen Lamacraft (Y 76)*
Warwick AlexandersTom Mustapha *
Lee ThomassCarl Williams
Chris SockettsJon Wordsworth
Chris CharlessGary Dixon

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