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Oxford City 0 Hitchin Town 0

Saturday, November 19 2011

Anyone doubting the resolve of Hitchin’s players had their fears squashed by a battling performance from Carl Williams’ men against a team with designs on the league title.


37- Donnelly met Frendo cross – shot wide

90- Pond sent off for Oxford

Weather: Sunny, crisp, dry

Pitch: Very bumpy

Attendance: 241

 It wasn’t a classic game of Oxbridge quality, but after recent defeats at the hands of Swindon, Lowestoft, Frome and Chesham, during which the Canaries’ critics had started to doubt their ability to stay the course, this result was a real tonic.

Hitchin had the first chance of note after six minutes, a Callum Donnelly cross being met by Dean Gilbert but Oxford keeper Keith McLoughlin saved his effort.

Oxford’s first opportunity didn’t arrive until the 15th minute, a free kick by Felipe Barcelos that eluded the Hitchin wall and went inches wide of Martin Bennett’s left-hand post.

Hitchin started to look more dangerous in the 15 minutes just before the interval, notably when Zak Burke broke free down the flank only to be intercepted by Jack Ashton and then John Frendo’s teasing cross was met by Donnelly, whose shot went wide of the goal.

With most of the play condensed into midfield, chances were scarce in the econd half. Luke Gregson saw his close range effort, following a scruffy sequence of ricochets, saved by McLoughlin, while at the other end, Bennett was hurt going into a challenge with Michael Lyon.

Oxford received some fresh impetus when they brought on the prolific Steve Basham but the Hitchin defence gave him little room. He did  set-up Lee Steele, however, but Tony Fontenelle produced a fine interception. 

McLoughlin came to the home side’s rescue when he saved a free kick from John Frendo and when Gregson closed in on goal in the dying seconds, the Oxford keeper was able to stop him in his tracks.

Oxford seemed to summon up a final flurry and Bennett did well to stop a header from Adam Learoyd, while Alex Fisher shot into the side-netting.

In added time, Oxford’s Darren Pond was red-carded for a bad challenge.

The teams

Oxford City:
McLoughlin, Martin, Learoyd, Fleet (Heapy 45), Pond, Blossom, Lyon, Benjamin (Basham 62), Barcelos (Fisher 45), Steele, Ashton.

Bennett, Fontenelle, Pepper, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee, Donnelly, Gregson, Burke, Frendo, Lewis

Subs not used: Edgerley, Rowland, Williams, Anderson, Pedrycz

Referee: E.Smart

Assistants: D.Ballinger and P.Collyer

Photo: Geoff Thomason

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