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Hemel Hempstead 2 Hitchin Town 0

Saturday, December 17 2011

There was little in the way of Christmas cheer at Vauxhall Road as the Canaries reverted to their pre-Weymouth form to make it one win in 11 games.


56- Pearce scores from the penalty spot 1-0

90- Louis Lee sent off

90- Ross Lafayetye scores in added time 2-0

Weather: Bitterly cold, wet

Pitch: Boggy

Attendance: 238

Hemel Hempstead were in bottom place before this game, with just one home win. But Hitchin could have few complaints as they went down with a whimper, although a handful of bookings and another sending off might suggest that frustration is getting the better of them.

It might have been different if Hitchin had taken advantage of a good late first half spell during which their finishing left a lot to be desired.

In the opening stages, Hemel had the upper hand and only a save by Martin Bennett prevented Dave Pearce from opening the scoring.

In the final 15 minutes of the half, however, a Dean Gilbert volley from a corner was only a fraction wide. But within seconds, Hemel raced upfield and Lewis Toomey was denied by Bennett with a point blank save.

Hitchin finished the first period on top and Luke Gregson brought out an excellent tip-over by Ross Kitteridge. Then Zak Burke missed a sitter when he shot wide after Inih Effiong’s first effort was parried by the Hemel keeper.

Hemel took the lead on 56 minutes from the penalty spot, Pearce netting after Tom Pepper had brought down Toomey.

Jack Eades should have extrended Hemel’s lead when Marc Leach gave the ball away on the edge of the area, but he wasted his opportunity and shot over the bar.

Hitchin rarely looked like staging a comeback, although substitute Stewart King had an overhead kick that wasn’t far off target and a Leach free kick caused some panic in the home defence.

The final minute brought some drama. Firstly Louis Lee was red-carded for a bad foul and then Ross Lafayette scored Hemel’s second,  a shot from Bennett’s right that was helped into the net by the hapless Canary keeper.

The teams

Kitteridge, May, Brighton, Scowen, Gilbert, Beale, Eades (M.Smith 85), Gorman, Lafayette, Toomey (Jallow 80), Pearce

Subs not used: Morgan, J.Smith

Goals: Pearce –pen 56, Lafayette 90

Hitchin: Bennett, Pepper, Leach, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee, Donnelly, Gregson (King 60), Burke (Anderson 75), Effiong, Lewis

Subs not used: Fontenelle, Edgerley, Ann

Referee: E.Kaye

Assistants: P.Newman, D.Tregaskes

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