Barnes double sees off Clevedon

Clevedon 1 Hitchin Town 2 Paul Barnes underlined his considerable worth to Hitchin Town with matchwinning goals at Clevedon, sending the Canaries to their first victory at the impressive Hand Stadium. Until Barnes added to his goal tally for the season, H

Clevedon 1 Hitchin Town 2

Paul Barnes underlined his considerable worth to Hitchin Town with matchwinning goals at Clevedon, sending the Canaries to their first victory at the impressive Hand Stadium.

Until Barnes added to his goal tally for the season, Hitchin looked likely to return home from Somerset pointless in what was a lacklustre game played before a paltry crowd of 124.

Hitchin had to overcome the loss of goalkeeper Martin Bennett, but 18-year-old stand-in Adam Robinson gave a good account of himself and had little to worry about all afternoon.


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But it was Clevedon that took the lead after 24 minutes, a free-kick by Simon Heal being glanced home by the head of Lewis Powell.

Hitchin struggled to get to grips with a robust Clevedon side, but just before the interval there was a hint of what was to come, Paul Barnes sending a low, first-time shot past the Clevedon post.

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In the 67th minute, however, it all started to come right for Hitchin. The ball was played around the area, it came out to Carl Williams and landed invitingly for Paul Barnes. He quickly controlled it and blasted it into the back of the net, with mild protests of offside from Clevedon.

Seven minutes later, Barnes did it again, sending a bullet header past Danny Greaves from Derwayne Stupple's cross. Barnes' goal earned him a prolonged ovation from the crowd.

He could have had a hat-trick 10 minutes from time, racing clear of the Clevedon defence and shooting over the bar.

Between Hitchin's goals, Dean Gilbert received a head injury and was sent to hospital, Gordon Barr coming on in his place.

Only a late Josh Brigham long-range effort concerned Hitchin in the second half. Robinson, in the Hitchin goal, had a relatively easy debut.

Darran Hay said: "I was pleased with way we came back to win. It was a game where we had to dig in and get a result and we did just that."

Canaries: Robinson, Pepper, Wilson, Williams, Gilbert (Barr 70m), Cox, Woolf (Sealey 52m), Stupple, P Barnes, M Barnes (Draycott 86m), Gregson.

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