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Cirencester Town 2 Hitchin Town 2

Saturday, March 24 2012

Despite going 2-0 up inside 27 minutes, the Canaries had to settle for a draw at relegation-threatened Cirencester Town.

26- Zak Burke rolls the ball home for Hitchin’s first goal 0-1

30- Callum Donnelly shoots into the net from 10 yards 0-2

45- Scott Griffin pulls a goal back 1-2

67- Jody Bevan nets from the penalty spot 2-2

Weather: Sunny, crisp

Pitch: Bumpy

Attendance: 99

Hitchin are arguably almost safe, but there was an air of dissatisfaction after this draw at the Corinium Stadium.

As has been demonstrated this season on a number of occasions, Hitchin struggle to produce their best form against strugglers, and this was no different. The Canaries rarely rose above average at Cirencester, wasting the advantage of a two-goal lead.

But the two goals came at a time when Cirencester were on top. For a team that has been written off as relegation certainties, the home side gave the impression they were still fighting for their lives. And when Canaries goalkeeper Martin Bennett was substituted, giving Polish custodian Bart Pedrycz the chance to make his league debut, it looked like a difficult afternoon.

In the 26th minute, the early wobbles looked to have been overcome when Zak Burke put Hitchin ahead, just about rolling the ball into the net after Tony Fontenelle passed the ball across goal.

Four minutes later, Burke pushed the ball to John Frendo and his pass to Callum Donnelly was finished off in style by the little midfielder, a cool low shot wide of Cirencester keeper Mike Hedges.

Cirencester had a let off when Frendo’s close-range finish after Hedges blocked a shot was ruled out for offside. In added time, however, Cirencester pulled a goal back, Scott Griffin chasing the ball with Tom Pepper in pursuit and sending his shot past Pedrycz.

Hitchin came out in positive style in the second half and if Burke’s shot had not shaved the post, they might have restored the two-goal advantage. Luke Gregson, too, had an effort that might have killed off Ciren.

But Hitchin’s generosity was punished in the 67th minute when Donnelly handballed in the area and Jody Bevan levelled from the penalty spot.

With the scores level, Hitchin never regained the promise of the first half, although Burke, after showing great determination, saw his shot cleared off the line.  Cirencester looked the likelier winners, though and James Mortimer- Jones, with a shot that struck a post, and a header over, almost achieved it. Sadly, it doesn't look like they will get the chance next season...

The teams

Cirencester: Hedges, Claridge (Bennett 57), Dunton, Westlake, Davies, Reid, Turk, Mortimer-Jones, Bevan, Griffin, Else
  Subs not used: Pitt, Dunn, James, Russell

Hitchin: Bennett (Pedrycz 20), Pepper, Leach, Stewart, Gilbert, Donnelly, Fontenelle (Morgan 73), Gregson, Burke, Frendo (King 80), Lewis
Subs not used: Edgerley, Lee

Referee: M.Derrien

Assistants: S.Tubin & M.Halfura

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