A French lesson for hosts
Banbury United 2 Hitchin Town 3 NEIL JENSEN reports THERE cannot have been more dramatic finales to a game than the 90th minute of Hitchin s 3-2 win at Banbury. That was when Daniel French s corner sailed into the net, stunning the home crowd who quickly
Banbury United 2
Hitchin Town 3
NEIL JENSEN reports
THERE cannot have been more dramatic finales to a game than the 90th minute of Hitchin's 3-2 win at Banbury.
That was when Daniel French's corner sailed into the net, stunning the home crowd who quickly made their exit from the Spencer Stadium.
Canaries manager Darren Salton claimed afterwards that the result was the "first bit of luck I have had as manager".
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Salton was being too gracious in victory, though, for Hitchin deserved to win on the strength of their second-half performance.
To be fair to Banbury, they could also claim they should have won as substitute Stuart Bridges struck the crossbar six minutes from the end.
As a game, this was an exciting advertisement for British Gas Premier football.
Hitchin's first-half performance did not match their two previous games and Banbury took a 10th minute lead from Ollie Stanbridge.
Darren Pond had three first-half chances to add to their lead.
Towards the end of the half, Hitchin began to assert some pressure, with Andy Ross going close with a high shot.
At half-time, Salton brought on Gavin Jaggard and his arrival sparked off a dramatic recovery. Within six minutes. Jaggard had equalised, tapping the ball in after goalkeeper Milan Barisic had pushed French's cross on to the woodwork.
But Hitchin were level for only five minutes. A shot from Andy Baird was parried by Michael Parkin and the loose ball found Howard Forinton who shot into the net.
In the 65th minute, Hitchin conjured up another equaliser.
A long throw by Mark Ducket bounced invitingly for Wayne Mills and he headed over hapless keeper Barisic. For a small player, Mills has excelled himself this season, scoring two goals with his head.
Four minutes later, David Deeney weaved his way through but was blocked as he shaped to shoot.
Hitchin, by now, were looking the dominant side and the likely winners.
As the play switched from end to end, Banbury also looked dangerous and in the 84th minute, Bridges powered a shot over Parkin but not under the crossbar.
It was a let off for the Canaries but the drama was not over. With less than 30 seconds remaining, French sent a corner over Barisic to give Hitchin a confidence boosting win.
Canaries: Parkin, Frater (Cretton 83m), Ducket, Hammonds, Folds, Deeney, Hill (Jaggard 46m), Ross, Dillon (Bridge 90m), Mills, French.