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Hitchin Town 4 AFC Totton 0

Saturday, February 9 2013

 There’s not been a lot to shout about this season at Top Field, but the Canaries 4-0 win against AFC Totton left Hitchin fans with broad smiles for arguably the first time since August.

It was a memorable hat-trick by John Frendo that inspired Hitchin to their best win of the season against a Totton side who played for more than an hour with 10 men. It was also only the third time since 2004 that the Canaries managed to win a Premier Division game by four clear goals.

Hitchin started well with Frendo's volley blocked by Bailey Cargill following a corner.

Shortly afterwards, Hitchin's on-loan striker, Jake Woolley, brought the ball down well and saw his shot saved by Gareth Barfoot.

The game sprung to life in the 26th minute when Barfoot was red-carded for head-butting Frendo after the two players challenged for the ball. Substitute goalkeeper Steve Hollick took over in goal while Totton officials berated the referee and Frendo.

Woolley went close again after combining with Frendo, his shot whistling just wide of the Totton goal. But in the 43rd minute, Frendo was brought down in the area by Jonathan Davies and from the spot-kick,the Hitchin striker put the home side ahead. There was more abuse for Frendo as he filed off the pitch.



Totton started well in the second period, with  a shot by Davies pushed for a corner by recalled goalkeeper Martin Bennett. But in the 51st minute, Hitchin extended their lead. Jhai Dhillon threaded the ball into Frendo's path and he crept in front of a defender before running on a chipping Hollick in style.



In the 62nd minute, Hitchin scored again, the impressive Dhillon crossing to the near post and Woolley glancing his header into the net. Seconds later, a cross by Woolley was met by Lawrie Stewart, but his effort went away from goal. Frendo clinched his hat-trick in the 69th minute with a goal out of the top-drawer, a 30 yard volley that gave Hollick no chance.

Totton retaliated with their best chance of the game, Stefan Brown's drive acrobatically parried by Bennett and Richard Gillespie following up with a header that was also well saved.

Hitchin almost had a fifth after more good work by Dhillon, but Luke Gregson's shot was deflected for a corner.

So it was good cheer at Top Field at long last. There was plenty to enthuse about. Frendo, of course, underlined that he is probably the best striker in the League. For the first time in months, the team had shape, direction, discipline and purpose. The loan players – Dhillon and Woolley are useful acquisitions, the latter looking the perfect foil for Frendo. Michael Noone ran the midfield with tenacity, ably supported by Luke Gregson. As for confidence, this win – despite Totton playing two thirds of the game with 10 men - will have acted like a gallon of high-dosage caffeine. Roll on the next game – when did we last say that?



Statistics


Hitchin Town (1)4 AFC Totton (0)0

1-0 Frendo – pen 44 mins

2-0 Frendo 51 mins

3-0 Woolley 62 mins

4-0 Frendo 69 mins

Attendance: 269



Hitchin: Bennett, Berry, Bickerstaff, Stewart, Ann, Noone (Beckett 75), Delderfield, Gregson, Woolley, Frendo (Hitchcock 82), Dhillon

Subs not used: Paul, Webb, Gilbert



AFC Totton: Barfioot, Hill (Oldring 67), Whitley, Cargill, Whisken, Brown, Pettefer, Davies (Roberts 67), Coutts, Gillespie, Gosney (Hollick)

Subs not used: Bottomley, Ferrett

Referee: N.Smith

Assistants: J.Thorold, C.Reeson


Photo: Martyn Annetts



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