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Weymouth 2 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, April 21 2012

Hitchin ended their away programme with a disappointing defeat at Weymouth, who secured their own safety with this victory.


49 – Luke Gregson puts Hitchin ahead 0-1

69 -  Weymouth’s Duff levels from the penalty spot 1-1

72 -  Mark Ford gives Weymouth the lead 2-1

Weather: Inconsistent but generally damp and cold

Pitch: Patchy

Attendance: 674

A three minute-spell, characterized by a couple of acrobatic dives from Weymouth’s Mark Ford, changed the face of this game.

In a week when players’ diving has captured the attention of the media, Ford gave a good impression of the fabled “dying swan” in winning Weymouth’s penalty. And then, just a few minutes later, the same player, as clever a player as he is thespian, celebrated his winning goal with a classic Fosbury Flop. Even Weymouth’s players, caught off-guard in post-match banter, admitted that Ford had “played for the penalty”.

Hitchin can count themselves unlucky not to have returned home with something from this game. Weymouth, however, desperately needed the points to ensure that a huge, but often disaster-prone club, remains at Step Three.

In the first half, John Frendo – playing his last game of the season -  went close on three occasions, most notably when his fierce shot was parried by Weymouth keeper Tom Manley. At the other end, Dean Gilbert prevented a home goal when he blocked a shot by Craig Duff.

Hitchin took the lead in the 49th minute to send nerves jangling at the Wessex Stadium. A cross by Callum Donnelly was punched by Manley, Marc Leach just failed to gain aerial control and the ball fell to Gregson who volleyed low into the net.

Hitchin could have extended their lead when Frendo set Zak Burke clear, but he went just too wide before getting his shot in and Manley easily saved.

It was a let-off for Weymouth and they soon took control of the game. In the 69th minute, Leach won the ball in a tackle with Ford, but his reaction won a penalty. Duff levelled from the spot to reinvigorate the home side.

Three minutes later, the Hitchin defence opened up to allow Ford the time to round Martin Bennett and stroke the ball into the net.

Still Hitchin had chances to save the game, Frendo denied by Manley and then right at the death, Burke ran onto a long ball and unsuccessfully attempted to lift the ball over the Weymouth custodian. They would have been some justice, but the game ended with the home side celebrating their confirmed survival.

The teams

Weymouth: Manley, Baggridge, Jeannin, Napper, Gerring, Poole, Duff, Beasley (Tribe 60), Groves, Byerley (Ford 55), Reed  Subs not used: Dixon, Wells

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Pepper, Leach, Gilbert, Donnelly, Morgan (Edgerley 75), Gregson, Burke, Frendo, Lewis  Subs not used: Stewart, Pedrycz

Referee: S. Annis

Assistants: R.Lawrence & A.Salter

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