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AFC Totton 0 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, September 24 2011

A second half goal from Ieaun Lewis gave Hitchin an outstanding 1-0 win at league leaders AFC Totton.


30- Hitchin score from a corner, but an infringement rules it out

55- Bennett saves from Davies and Sherbourne puts the rebound over the bar

78- Lewis scores after a short corner 0-1
89- Lee clears off the line
90- Gosney rounds Bennett but can’t get the ball in the net

Weather: Autumn sun

Pitch: Firm

Attendance: 438

The Canaries provided further evidence that they may well be a force to be reckoned with in the Premier Division this season, beating a team that had scored 27 goals in their first nine games.

AFC Totton’s formidable home record was shattered by a thoroughly professional Hitchin performance. While Ieuan Lewis was the matchwinner, Martin Bennett made use that a rampant home side were kept at bay. It was a display to make the rest of the division sit up and take notice.

The portents were not good when Hitchin drove out of Top Field. Regular centre halves, Dean Gilbert and Laurie Stewart were both absent and Jack Nelly was brought in for his first game of the season. But a new-look Hitchin defence was superb for 90 minutes.

It was an even game in the first half, with Hitchin coping with AFC Totton’s early effervescence. Midway through the half, the Canaries enjoyed their best spell with Zak Burke and John Frendo both going close. Jerome Anderson also got in on the act and saw his shot- created by the Frendo-Burke axis – saved by Grant Porter.

AFC Totton’s best first half effort fell to Michael Gosney, a free kick that cleared the crossbar.  After the interval, they started to pressurise Hitchin with Carl Pettifer shooting over and then Bennett pulled off the first of a catalogue of fine saves, stopping Jon Davies’ effort and watching Nat Sherbourne sky the rebound.

Not that Hitchin were sitting back, for they also had their opportunities, notably when Marc Leach’s head met a Burke free kick.

Twelve minutes from time, Hitchin took the lead. A short corner saw Burke slide the ball to Frendo and after a pin-ball game in the area, Ieuan Lewis smashed his shot past Porter from 20 yards.

A team that has been used to getting its own way at home was not going to take such a setback lightly, and Hitchin girded their loins for an onslaught – and it arrived as expected.

Bennett was a veritable Trojan between the posts, stopping everything that was thrown at him. He prevented James Coutts, Stefan Brown, Jamie Whisken and Sherbourne from scoring – all in the final few minutes. And Louis Lee should also be mentioned in despatches for his goal-line clearance.  The game was almost up for Hitchin when Gosney rounded Bennett, but fortunately, he was unable to finish. It really was Hitchin’s day.

Up to seventh, Hitchin’s last two league games have seen victories against Cambridge and now Totton. You’ve arrived in the Premier, Mr. Williams!

The teams

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill (Charles 83), Oldring, Richardson (Coutts 11), Whisken, Campbell, Pettifer, Davies (Osman), Brown, Sherbourne, Gosney

Subs not used: Charles, Lewis, Slooks

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Pepper, Nelly (Donnelly 73), Leach, Lee, Lewis, Gregson, Burke, Frendo (Cole 90), Anderson

Subs not used: Edgerley, Williams, Pedrycz

Goals: Lewis 78

Referee: R.Hulme

Assistants: D.Howard-Tomes, B.Hubbard

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