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Hitchin Town 0 St.Albans City 2

Monday, September 3 2012

He may be 40, and the best days of his long and distinguished career may be behind him, but Hitchin were shown how to do it by former Stevenage hero Barry Hayles in this local derby with St.Albans.

Hayles scored the Saints’ opener – some 18 years after netting against Hitchin for the club down the road in the new town in 1994 – and played 90 solid minutes. He played his part in a game that could have resulted in a far bigger defeat for the Canaries.

Hitchin disappointed for the second home game running, making it three wins from six (not a bad haul) despite being without key players since game one.

Hitchin had the first chance of the game, however, Callum Donnelly going close with a long range effort. Once St.Albans scored, though, there was no doubting the winner. Hayles took his seventh minute goal well, side-footing home after evading Dean Gilbert as a free kick from Mousea Diarra fell into the area.

St.Albans had too much pace, physique and purpose for a Canaries side that missed the presence of the injured Luke Gregson. It was no surprise when the visitors added to their lead, Chris Henry bursting through and sending a 30-yard shot that gave Martin Bennett no chance. It was a stunning goal, apparently out of character of the fleet-footed Henry. It was almost 3-0 when James Gray headed just wide from a corner with a header.

It looked ominous for Hitchin, who looked decidedly second best. Lewis Toomey ran onto a Sean Shields pass and should really have done better than he did, shooting wide. At the other end, John Frendo was not too far away with a free kick, but you got the feeling that Nick Hardy would have had it covered.

Hayles took advantage of Bennett being caught off his line but sent his speculative effort high and wide. Shields also caused a scare with a shot across the face of goal. Henry went on another surging dash down the flank, sent over a cross but Lawrie Stewart cleared the danger.

The second half wasn’t good and the general mood among the near-500 crowd was one of disinterest. Hitchin didn’t test Hardy at all, which must have worried manager Carl Williams.  Not the best preparation for the FA Cup, but St.Albans, on the evidence of this performance, will certainly be pushing for the top five.


Hitchin Town (0)0 St.Albans City (2)2
0-1 Hayles 7 mins

0-2 Henry 29 mins

Attendance: 491

Hitchin: Bennett, Webb, Lincoln, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee, Fontenelle (Bickerstaff 74), Beckett (Burke h/t), Donnelly, Frendo, Delderfield Subs not used: Islam, Hickey, Toomey

St.Albans: Hardy, Seeby, Watts (Eadie 60), Diarra, Ujah, Shields, Gray, Toomey, Hayles, Henry (Taylor 74)
Subs not used: Blackwood, Carr, Martin

Referee: W.Norcott
Assistants: J.Aldous & S.Porter

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