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Hitchin Town 2 Bashley 3

Saturday, September 3 2011

After three excellent results, the Canaries were brought down to earth by a resilient Bashley team, who had a golden patch in the first half that effectively won the game.


19- Long ball by Bennett sees Burke run on, shrug aside a challenge and shoot home 1-0

32- A cross to the near post by Luke Whitley is headed past Bennett by Knowles 1-1

36- Another cross by Whitley and Hill shoots home at the far post 1-2
41- Donnelly loses possession and the ball is played wide to Gamble who sends his shot past Bennett 1-3
55- Frendo scores at the second attempt 2-3

Weather: Dry
Pitch: Very firm

Attendance: 420

 Hitchin came up against the strongest team they’ve played so far, so there were no glum faces after this game. Far from it – there was a philosophical air at the final whistle that the 90 minutes had been part of the grand learning process.

Still, the Canaries made a good case for a draw against a Bashley team that had a 10 minute spell where they could do no wrong. They took the lead in the 19th minute and should have used that as a springboard to take control of the game. But Bashley had other ideas.

Hitchin’s opener had a stroke of good fortune about it. Martin Bennett’s long ball fell kindly for Zak Burke, and although both he and the Bashley defender failed to connect, it rolled nicely for him to shoot low past static keeper David Elm.

If Hitchin had extended their lead halfway through the first period, Louis Lee’s shot being blocked after good work by Burke, it may have been different, but then Bashley came to life.

Luke Whitley’s nicely weighted cross was met at the near post by the head of Chris Knowles to draw Bashley level on 32 minutes.

Four minutes later, Whitley repeated the trick, but this time, Tom Hill met the cross and steered the ball past Bennett.  There was a touch of déjà vu about the whole incident.

Bashley added to Hitchin’s discomfort four minutes from the interval. Callum Donnelly lost possession on the edge of the penalty area and the ball was played across to Mark Gamble, who swerved his shot, first time, past Bennett.

Hitchin, somewhat shell-shocked at the interval, came out with renewed energy in the second period. Ten minutes into the restart, they pulled a goal back, Donnelly passing to Frendo and at the second attempt, he drove past Elm.

For a while, it looked as though the Canaries would stage a comeback. Burke missed an open goal after Donnelly rolled the ball across the area and Luke Gregson thought he had equalized when he found the net, only to ruled out by referee Mr. Margetts. Frendo almost hooked the ball home after Laurie Stewart headed on a corner.

Bashley survived and gave a timely reminder to Carl Williams and Co. that this season will be laden with ups and downs.

The teams

Bennett, Pepper, Leach, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee, Lewis (Donnelly 32), Gregson, Burke, Frendo, Cole (Anderson 56) 
Subs not used: Fontenelle, Edgerley, Williams
Goals: Burke 19, Frendo 55

Elm, Smith, Whitley, Middleton, Lloyd, Knowles, Hill, Allen, Stokoe, Gamble (Cox 83), Hester (Vokes 84)
 Subs not used: Foster, Penny, Prodomo

Goals: Knowles 32, Hill 36, Gamble 41

Referee: D.Margetts

Assistants: G.Viccars & D.Aylott

Waitrose man of the match (as chosen by Matchball Sponsor, Mick Dring): Laurie Stewart

Photo: Martyn Annetts

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