Calamity struck again for Hitchin Town when they suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat on Tuesday night, this time at the hands of struggling Wealdstone. It could not really have got much worse for the Canaries, who have now conceded 15 goals in five games in 2007.
Calamity struck again for Hitchin Town when they suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat on Tuesday night, this time at the hands of struggling Wealdstone.
It could not really have got much worse for the Canaries, who have now conceded 15 goals in five games in 2007.
Although just one point behind the play-off contenders, Hitchin's form and leaky defence is damaging their chances of success by the week.
Wealdstone had won just twice at home before this game but Hitchin failed to trouble the nomadic Middlesex side.
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Hitchin may argue that they should have had a 25th minute penalty when striker Chris Dillon went tumbling in the area, but from that point, the Canaries were not a threat.
Wealdstone took the lead when a Graeme Montgomery shot was parried by Rob Beckwith and Dean Papali followed up to score after 33 minutes.
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The same two players combined to extend the home side's lead three minutes later when Montgomery's free-kick struck the post and Papali shot home the rebound.
There was more to come in the first half as Scott Donnelly hit a superb shot over Beckwith after 41 minutes to give Wealdstone an impressive lead.
Hitchin tried their best in the opening stages of the second half to reduce the arrears and Carl Williams shot over the crossbar after a knock down by Glen Lamacraft.
But Wealdstone added another goal after 66 minutes in an incident that led to the dismissal of Beckwith.
Hitchin's goalkeeper failed to control a cross and the ball fell invitingly for Papali, who was then pulled back by Beckwith.
The referee had no choice but to show the red card and Adam Parker took over in goal. Papali grabbed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
Parker was not severely tested but pulled off a couple of good saves. As for Hitchin, they gave Wealdstone goalkeeper Lee Carroll nothing to worry about.
Canaries: Beckwith, Childs, Frater, Folds, Miller (Cretton 72), Deeney, Williams, Lamacraft, Dillon, Parker, Mills (Orphanou 57).
* Hitchin ended their worst start to a new year in a decade with three hard-earned points against Corby Town on Saturday.
There was a sense of relief among the home crowd as the Canaries won for the first time in a month and ended a dismal run of four games without a win. And there was a double bonus for Hitchin - their first clean sheet in a league game since April 15, 2006.
Manager Darren Salton made a few changes to his team.
In came new signing Matt Childs in a reshaped three-man defence, and Glen Lamacraft was recalled for the first time since November. On the bench was old favourite Adam Parker.
The first 45 minutes was among the most uneventful seen at Hitchin this season.
The action did no pick up until the latter stages of the first half, Parker heading on to the roof of the net from a Mark Ducket free-kick and Rob Miller forcing Corby goalkeeper David Clarke to save from his volley.
Early in the second half, Carl Williams sent a cross-cum-shot on to the crossbar, and at the other end, Rob Beckwith pulled off a good save from Steve Towers.
Another Williams cross caused problems for the Corby defence but when Clarke parried the ball out, Lamacraft blasted high and wide.
Corby had their chances, notably when Danny Marlow's shot was well saved by Beckwith.
Hitchin's leading scorer Chris Dillon should have given his side the lead in the 66th minute, but after beating the same defender twice, he hesitated and the opportunity passed.
At last the deadlock was broken nine minutes from time.
Parker used his experience to shield the ball from the Corby defence, played it back to David Deeney and his shot rocketed low into the net.
Dillon almost added another one when he ran on to Ducket's through ball and saw his shot cleared off the line. And in the dying seconds, Beckwith stopped a diving header from Towers.
Canaries: Beckwith, Childs, Frater, Folds, Miller, Deeney, Williams, Lamacraft, Dillon, Sozzo (Parker 38), Ducket.