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Hitchin Town 3 Cambridge City 2

Monday, September 12 2011

Hitchin bounced back from two recent defeats to win by the odd goal in five against third-placed Cambridge City.


27- John Frendo scores with a superb turn and shot 1-0

42- Frendo hits bar with free kick

43- Craig Hammond volleys City level 1-1
51- Louis Lee’s low drive makes it 2-1

62- Tom Pepper hits the bar

75- Hammond levels from the penalty spot 2-2

85- Marc Leach scores from the spot, too 3-2

Weather: Damp, windy

Pitch: Greasy

Attendance: 412

This will pack ‘em in. That was the verdict after one of the best games seen at Top Field in years. A five-goal thriller, some exhilarating football and a Hitchin team tormenting their opponents with pace a free-flowing football. The 412 people that witnessed this Monday night special were very lucky indeed.

Cambridge came to Top Field in third place and with a back four that had yielded just five goals. For most of the 90 minutes, Hitchin toyed with their defence and but for the intervention of the woodwork, the scoreline would have been very different.

There were some excellent goals for the crowd to savour. But even before returning hero John Frendo opened the scoring on 27 minutes, Hitchin had hinted that this would be a good night. For a start, there was the battle of the Zaks – Hitchin’s Burke testing Cambridge’s Barrett – that saw the Canaries forward denied by City’s keeper.  And then there was the other paceman, Jerome Anderson, who saw his effort blocked by Barrett.

But Barrett had no chance with Frendo’s effort, a neat turn and shot – all in one movement – that seemed to take everyone by surprise.

Frendo almost scored again in the 42nd minute when he curled a free kick against the crossbar, but within seconds, Cambridge were level – against the run of play.

Tony Burke managed to get round Marc Leach and sent the ball into the middle. It bounced around and then a spectacular scissor kick by Craig Hammond  gave Martin Bennett no chance.

The old cliché would have you believe that Cambridge had scored at the wrong time for Hitchin, but the Canaries didn’t seem to take notice of this claim. Anderson brought Barrett back into action with a first-time shot that was sent into the stand, but from the  corner, Laurie Stewart knocked the ball back to the outstanding Louis Lee, and he drilled a low shot into the net from outside the area.

Cambridge had their chances to equalize, notably when Joey Abbs shot into side-netting and Lee Clift saw his header tipped over by Bennett. In between, Tom Pepper rattled the Cambridge crossbar.

Potential disaster was lurking, however. Leach handballed in the area and from the penalty spot, Hammond brought the scores level once more.

Five minutes from time, Hitchin were given the chance to regain the upper hand. Ieuan Lewis glided to the fringes of the penalty area, attempted to thread the ball through to Luke Gregson, but Alex Lacey tripped the Canaries midfielder. With Frendo now off the pitch – suffering from suspected cramp – Marc Leach took the penalty kick and he demonstrated great composure in netting the winning goal.

The teams

Hitchin Town:
Bennett, Pepper, Leach, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee, Lewis, Gregson, Burke, Frendo (Donnelly 81), Anderson
Subs not used: Fontenelle, Edgerley, Williams, Bickerstaff

Goals: Frendo 27, Lee 51, Leach – pen 84

Cambridge City: Barrett, Lacey, O’Donnell, Theobald, Chaffey, Cambridge, Burke (Kelly 66), Nightingale, Hammond, Clift, Abbs (Krause 72)

Goals: Hammond 62, 75 -pen

Referee: M.Scholes
Assistants: P.Evans & R.Moss

Waitrose man of the match, as chosen by WKH Chartered Accountants: Ieuan Lewis

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