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Hitchin Town 0 Leamington 1

Monday, February 18 2013

It says a lot about the recent change in mood at Hitchin that all was not gloom and doom at the final whistle, despite manager Carl Williams’ bemoaning his luck as he left the field.

Hitchin were robbed, so much so that Leamington’s travelling fans were slightly pink-faced at leaving North Herts with three points in the bag. And the way the visitors celebrated their 92nd minute winner suggested they were more than a little relieved at securing the win. A few weeks ago, they would surely have departed Top Field with a far healthier scoreline.

After two 4-0 wins, the Canaries were in spritely mood against the league leaders. True, Leamington were far tougher than both Totton and Banbury, but the manner in which Hitchin took on the Spa town representatives was highly encouraging. On any other night, they might have pulled off a shock.

It was not an evening when goalscoring opportunities fell out of the sky, however. John Frendo, of course, was in the thick of it for Hitchin, going close with a shot that was blocked and then with a snapshot from the edge of the area that whistled just too high. Dan Delderfield, too, was unlucky with his effort that flew just wide.

For Leamington, Lee Chilton’s close range volley was well tipped over by Martin Bennett, who looks to have regained his best form since returning to the team.

The second period was also low on chances, but Leamington gradually stepped-up the pace. Bennett pulled off a superb save from Richard Batchelor while Frendo’s low drive was pushed around the post by Laurie Walker. Luke Gregson, for many people the man of the match, headed just over with three minutes remaining.

There was a cruel twist in added time, however, when Batchelor’s cross was fired home by substitute Ricky Johnson to send the Leamington team into raptures. That was his last touch as he was taken off hurt – but not as hurt as the Hitchin team that had worked so hard for 90 minutes.

Hitchin Town (0)0 Leamington (0)1
0-1 Johnson 90 mins

Attendance: 350

Hitchin: Bennett, Berry, Bickerstaff, Stewart, Ann, Noone, Delderfield (Beckett 59), Gregson, Woolley, Frendo, Dhillon Subs not used: Webb, Hitchcock, Paul, McGeorge

Leamington: Walker, Mace, Morley, Owen (Johnson 67, James 90), Hood, Daly, Magunda (Naylor 83), Chilton, S.Moore, L.Moore, Batchelor Subs not used: Dodd, Cooper

Referee: J.Richardson
Assistants: S.Simpson, J.Ohene

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