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Hitchin Town 0 Oxford City 3

Saturday, April 28 2012

This game was extremely doubtful at one stage. It was a day when it all went wrong for the Canaries, starting with the bizarre sight of a stranded coach in Fishponds Road.

24- Felipe Barcelos finishes after good through ball 0-1

37- Barcelos again, shooting home from 25 yards 0-2

76- Conor McDonough scores with a tame effort 0-3

Pitch: Heavy with water

Weather: Dire

Attendance: 387

It was a day when nothing seemed to go right. Already shorn of John Frendo and Dean Gilbert, Hitchin Town threatened to snarl up traffic in the locality due to the Oxford coach being paralysed in the entrance to the ground.

The vehicle’s brakes had seized up but nothing could put the brakes on Oxford City’s drive to the play-offs. Hitchin were as comatose as the  visitors’ transportation.

Oxford survived an early scare when Ieuan Lewis rolled the ball wide and then a Marc Leach free kick was fumbled by Oxford goalkeeper Jason Mooney, allowing Luke Gregson to play the ball back to Zak Burke who sent his shot funfair bound on Butts Close.

But once Oxford took control, they gave the Canaries no room for negotiation. In fact, if Hitchin could have summoned up the assistance of the super-heroes in the Oxford crowd – fancy dress on the final day, don’t you just love it? – they may have had a fighting chance.

Oxford took the lead in the 24th minute through Felipe Barcelos, drafted in during the pre-match kick around due to a late injury, who finished coolly after a good through-ball by John Basham.

Barcelos looked a class act, showing all the intricate ball skills of a La Liga striker, and he could have had a sombrero-full of goals before the interval. His second came on 37 minutes when he fired home from 25 yards after some neat play around the area.

Then either side of the interval, Barcelos waged a one-man war against Hitchin, repeatedly being denied by Martin Bennett, who had no chance to add to his dozen or so clean-sheets in the league this season.

Bennett was beaten again in the 76th minute, a tame tap-in by Conor McDonough after that man Barcelos played him in.

There really was not much to warm the Canaries’ fans on an unseasonal end to the league campaign. Still, 14th place was not a bad showing at all…..

The teams

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle (Edgerley h/t), Pepper, Stewart, Leach, Lee, Morgan, Donnelly, Gregson, Burke, Lewis
Subs not used: Balletta, Bolarinwa, Holland, Pedrycz

Oxford City: Mooney, Clarke (Martin 15), Learoyd, Bullard, Malone, Hynan, Lyon, Benjamin (Skendi 63), Basham (McDonough 73), Barcelos, Blossom
Subs not used: McLoughlin

Referee: M.Wilson

Assistants: P.Smith & A.Anastasiou

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