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Hitchin Town 4 Banbury United 0

Saturday, February 16 2013

In a week when all things equine have dominated the headlines, it was perhaps appropriate that a true thoroughbred won the day for the Canaries. And victory was secured on one of the worst pitches Hitchin have played on in years.

To be fair to Banbury, their playing surface is something of a millstone for them, sitting as it does beside a river. But it did look like the local gymkhana had taken place on it just a few days earlier. If ever there was an argument for smaller leagues or a mid-winter break, this playing surface provided the evidence.

As for the game itself, Hitchin continued their improved form and recorded two successive 4-0 wins for the first time in almost half a century. And John Frendo netted his second consecutive hat-trick to take him to 92 goals for the club.

Banbury, who have fielded something like 70 players this season, looked ragged and disorganized. Their manager, Edwin Stein, left the field with local fans chanting, “you don’t know what you’re doing”.

Hitchin knew exactly what they were doing and took the lead in the 35th minute, Frendo headed home after Jack Beckett nodded on Daniel Delderfield’s cross to the far post.

Four minutes later, Frendo headed home number two from Michael Noone’s free kick. Banbury had little in response, aside from the occasional flash of skill from Kynan Isaac, but his efforts were too often punctuated by gamesmanship and petty skirmishes with Hitchin players.

The home side did come out in the second half with some purpose and Scott Bridges brought the ball down well before seeing his shot saved by Martin Bennett.

But Hitchin scored again in the 61st minute when Noone’s free kick floated into the area and Luke Gregson glanced his header into the far corner of the net.

Within two minutes, Frendo had netted his third goal, hooking the ball home at the near post after a teasing cross from Dhillon.

Isaac, arguably Banbury’s best chance of a goal, tried his luck late on, but Bennett saved his shot from close range.

So two wins, two clean sheets, eight goals, a striker on fire and a two very disciplined performances. The dark days of December and January suddenly seem a long time ago.


Banbury United (0)0 Hitchin Town (2)4

0-1 Frendo 34 mins

0-2 Frendo 39 mins

0-3 Gregson 61mins

0-4 Frendo 63 mins

Attendance: 216

Banbury: Carter, Gray, Martin, Ashton (Agyeman-Prampeh 75), Allen, W.Plowright, Bridges, Bailey (Lait 64), Shariff (Skendi 66), Isaac, Hopkins
 Subs not used: R.Plowright, Blossom

Hitchin: Bennett, Berry, Bickerstaff, Ann, Noone, Beckett (Hitchcock 83), Gregson, Delderfield, Frendo (McGeorge 81), Dhillon
Subs not used: Webb, Paul, Lee

Referee: D.Leach

Assistants: L.Howick, N.Evans

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