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Hitchin Town 0 Barwell 1

Monday, March 4 2013

Barely 200 people saw this game, and they were treated to a heady mixture of long balls, bruising incident, argumentive players and staccato patterns of play.

No, Top Field was not the place to be. In fact, it was a little surprising that air traffic control was not brought in to Fishponds Road to deal with the high-flying object that may just have been mistaken for a UFO. It was close encounters of the tedious kind.

As for Hitchin, they were bullied out of the race by a Barwell team that has perfected the art of gamesmanship. Scarcely a minute went by without one of their players holding up play, shouting abuse, contesting a decision or merely rolling on the rock-hard turf to waste time. It’s easy to see how they are contending a play-off place. They have a game plan and they stick to it.

Not so Hitchin, who didn’t perform badly at all, but made little impact on a well-drilled Barwell defence. When the Hadland brothers are in the opposing team, you have to be combative and Hitchin found it hard to deal with. Barwell sent Hitchin to their fourth home defeat in five games – a worrying statistic.

Barwell had the best chances, starting with a Tom Weale shot that hit the post in the 11th minute. Hitchin new boy, Lewis Toomey went close for the Canaries with a 25-yarder that went wide and then John Frendo took advantage of a slip-up before curling a shot past the post. Barwell almost scored just before the interval when the appropriately-named Jamie Towers brought a good save out of Martin Bennett.

Barwell’s Justin Marsden should have done better when he shot over the bar when clear and in the 67th minute, substitute Matt Brown struck the crossbar. You could sense a Barwell goal coming and it did, in the 72nd minute when Jack Edwards slid the ball home after a hard, low ball into the area by David Barnett. Edwards, ironically, scored the only goal when the two teams met in Leicestershire.

It wasn’t good enough for the uncompromising Barwell defenders, who demanded from their midfielders that “we need an end product”, the sort of corporate-speak not usually found on the football pitch. A Frendo overhead kick threatened to upset the visitors and in the final few seconds, goalkeeper Liam Castle pulled off a reflex save from a header by the Canaries’ leading scorer. It wasn’t to be though, and the brows were very furrowed as Hitchin limped off. Carl Williams’ men need an away game.


Hitchin Town (0)0 Barwell (0)1
0-1 Edwards 72 mins

Attendance: 200

Hitchin: Bennett, Berry, Bickerstaff (Woolley 80), Stewart, Webb, Noone (Lee 88), Beckett, Gregson, Toomey, Frendo, Dhillon
Subs not used: Delderfield, McGeorge, Gilbert

Barwell: Castle, Lower (McAteer 57), Edwards, G.Hadland, Richards (Brown 63), Lavery, Towers, S.Hadland, Barlone, Marsden (Barnett 63), Weale
Subs not used: Charley

Referee: C.O’Donnell
Assistants: R.Trinder & P.Wilkinson

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