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Bashley 1 Hitchin Town 3

Saturday, January 21 2012

On a day when Hitchin had to face up to some of the harsh realities of the current economic climate, their players reacted with gusto, thoroughly deserving their 3-1 win at Bashley.


24- Burke opens the scoring 0-1

45- Frendo nets from close range 0-2

55- Bennett saves from Green’s Free kick
56- Lewis shoots over after good work by Frendo
74- Penny pulls a goal back 1-2
81- Gamble misses an open goal

90- Frendo scores from the penalty spot 1-3

Weather: Sunny, Windy, Cold

Pitch: Firm

Attendance: 200

Appropriately, given the heavy emphasis on all things equestrian in the New Forest, Hitchin galloped to victory at picturesque Bashley.

The Canaries came up against a side lacking confidence – one win in 12, rapidly becoming one in 13 – and demonstrated their recently regained swagger.  They have won their last two away games and four in eight overall, a marked improvement on the darker days of October and November. They are now enjoying the lofty heights of mid-table!

Hitchin looked the better side from the start, aided by a chill wind that was cold enough for local horses to don their winter jackets. For long periods, Bashley were not at the races.

Inih Effiong should have given the Canaries an eighth minute lead when he turned and shot wide from inside the area. In the 24th minute,  Zak Burke, in a similar position, wasted no time in finding the net with the sort of goal that built his reputation at the club.

Only a block by Marc Leach prevented Bashley from equalizing on 38 minutes and then Martin Bennett did well to stop a shot from Jack Smith.

But Hitchin extended their lead on the stroke of half-time, Tony Fontenelle’s through ball finding John Frendo and he used his famed left foot with the precision of a Japanese sushi chef to shoot past Stewart Kearn.

Bashey’s already fragile self-esteem was surely destroyed by Frendo’s goal. Or so everyone thought. They came out in the second period slightly more determined and eager to use the wind to their advantage. Bennett stretched to push a Liam Green free kick wide of the goal and the pressure gradually built.

Hitchin had their moments to kill the homesters off, with Frendo setting up Ieuan Lewis who blasted over the bar and Effiong running into the danger zone but intercepted when it counted.

Bashley pulled a goal back – deservedly you have to say – in the 74th minute, but it was a shade fortunate as Stefan Penny’s shot was deflected into the net by a defender.  It could have been worse if Mark Gamble had taken the simplest of chances to level, but as he closed in on goal, his shot rolled wide.

Hitchin survived the loss of Louis Lee to injury but the enthusiastic Stewart King added a bit of life to the final 10 minutes. King was the catalyst for the final, killer goal for the Canaries when he ran onto the long ball, worked his way into the area and was sent sprawling. Frendo shot home from the penalty spot to secure the points.

Things change quickly in football. When Bashley won at Top Field, they looked a vibrant team. They look like relegation material today. A few weeks ago, Hitchin had developed worrying tendencies.  It’s a 22-horse race in the Premier.

The teams

Bashley: Kearn, Smith, Oliver (Penny 65), Middleton, Finlay, Vokes (Hill 39), Parsons, Allen, Stokoe, Gamble, Green

Subs not used: Whitley, Gteski, Prodomo

Goal: Penny 74

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Leach, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee (King 80), Burke, Donnelly, Effiong (Gregson 70), Lewis

Subs not used: Williams, Pedrycz, Edgerley

Goals: Burke 24, Frendo 45, 90 –pen

Referee: C.Wade

Assistants: I. Douglas, S.Lee

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