Canaries win at home against league leaders

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Hitchin Town 2 Brackley Town 1

Beating league leaders is always satisfying but when those leaders are resource-rich the victory is one to savour.

Brackley’s team may be packed with talent, but when it came to battling they were decidedly second best to a Hitchin side that was determined to compensate for losing at Cambridge a few days earlier.

Hitchin’s team had heroes all over the park, but head and shoulders above everyone was Lawrie Stewart who kept the Brackley front-line quiet all afternoon. Canaries’ manager Carl Williams would be the first to say, however, that this was a magnificent team effort.

The game took time to catch fire, with the early exchanges fairly even. When John Frendo opened the scoring in the 28th minute, it really came out of the blue. It started with a free kick that found the Canaries’ leading scorer who tried to get a shot in, but the ball ran to Callum Donnelly and then Tom Pepper before it arrived back at Frendo’s feet only to be fired into the net via a slight deflection.

Inih Effiong had two chances to add to Hitchin’s lead and a dangerous Donnelly cross threatened to cause damage but eluded the Canaries’ frontmen. Just after the break, Frendo again tormented Brackley, running into the area and sending a cross-cum-shot rolling just wide of the target before Brackley’s lumbering defence was caught cold again in the 52nd minute, Effiong finishing from an angle after Zak Burke’s innocuous cross was allowed to sail across the Brackley rearguard.

Most people in the 344 crowd expected a Brackley onslaught, but their display was anything but. In the 66th minute, though, they were handed a way back. A firm, hard cross by Gary Mulligan created some panic and as the ball rocketed across the area Luke Gregson caught Brett Solkhon. Elliot Sandy scored from the penalty spot with a calm and assured low kick.

Hitchin continued to hold Brackley at bay, although there was a scare when James Clifton’s low shot was fumbled by Martin Bennett. That aside, the Hitchin goal was intact and the Canaries held on to record a very significant win.

Hitchin: Bennett, Fontenelle, Pepper, Stewart, Gilbert, Lee (Gregson 45), Burke, Donnelly, Effiong (King 79), Frendo, Lewis. Subs not used: Leach, Edgerley, Pedrycz.

Referee: S.Rubery

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