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Arlesey Town 3 Hitchin Town 1

Tuesday, January 1 2013

A disastrous half-hour sent Hitchin to a humiliating defeat at the hands of local neighbours Arlesey Town as 2013 started in much the same way that 2012 ended for the Canaries.

To rub salt in what are raw wounds, Hitchin’s defeat made it a “double” for the mid-Beds outfit, underlining that the balance of power in local football has most definitely shifted to Arlesey.

However hard that is for Hitchin to take, they can at least take some comfort from a second half performance that tried to repair the damage inflicted upon the Canaries in the opening session.

By that time, though, the game was lost. Arlesey went ahead in the fourth minute when Chris Dillon finished from close range a move started by Drew Roberts. Twelve minutes later, the two strikers – one of the best front-line pairings in the league – combined again for Dillon to stroke the ball home after a neat one-two.

Hitchin’s dreadful start continued in the 23rd minute when Zak Burke brought down Dillon and Roberts scored from the penalty spot.

Let’s not forget, however, that Hitchin could have taken the lead before Arlesey got going, Zak Burke slipping in front of goal after a high ball from John Frendo landed at his feet.

Burke also struck a post and went close when he shot across the face of goal. But Roberts and Dillon enjoyed the run of the Hitchin area in the first period, both going close to adding to their haul.

The game began to change, however, when Frendo pulled a goal back for Hitchin in the 41st minute, who shot into the net after the ball came out of the Arlesey defence.

The goal gave Hitchin fresh hope and their second half display was much improved. Daniel Delderfield mis-kicked in front of goal and generally, Hitchin had the upper hand without causing too much anxiety around the Arlesey goal. And once Frendo went off, presumably injured, Hitchin’s offensive threat was all but gone.

Dillon should have secured his hat-trick when he met a low cross by Roberts but saw his effort smothered by Martin Bennett, and a free kick by Roberts found the head of James Hatch, but the ball sailed over the bar.

With the game petering out, Tony Fontenelle, a former Arlesey player, was sent-off for a wretched challenge on Hatch. While this seemed the right decision, it really didn’t need the endorsement of so many players, notably a 40-yard dash by goalkeeper Nathaniel Abbey to lock foreheads with Hitchin players. Thankfully, time was running out, so the incident was extinguished.

So Hitchin made the short trip home to contemplate when they will get the chance to avenge two defeats at the hands of Arlesey. Hopefully, it won’t be too long.


Arlesey Town (3)3 Hitchin Town (1)1

1-0 Dillon 4 mins

2-0 Dillon 16 mins

3-0 Roberts – pen 23 mins

3-1 Frendo 41 mins

Attendance: 536

Arlesey: N.Abbey, Prosper (Mawer 61), Cook, Gordon, Blackett, Farrell, Johnson, Hatch (Goss 55), Dillon, Roberts, Marsh (Galbraith 90) 
Subs not used: Frater, Bussey

Hitchin: Bennett, Webb, Bickerstaff, L.Stewart, Leach (Fontenelle h/t), Beckett, Delderfield (Taylor 67), Gregson, Donnelly, Frendo (McGovern 80), Burke
 Subs not used: Davis, Pedrycz

Referee: M.Wilson

Assistants: A.Stevens & J.Wynne

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