Canaries are in league freefall
Hitchin Town round-up by NEIL JENSEN Despite another defeat, Hitchin were much more upbeat about Tuesday night s 2-0 loss at Hemel Hempstead – their 10th reverse in 15 games. The Canaries demonstrated far more fight and character against a Hemel side that
Hitchin Town round-up
by NEIL JENSEN
Despite another defeat, Hitchin were much more upbeat about Tuesday night's 2-0 loss at Hemel Hempstead - their 10th reverse in 15 games.
The Canaries demonstrated far more fight and character against a Hemel side that although below-par themselves, are chasing a play-off position.
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Hitchin regrouped after losing winger Daniel French 24 hours earlier, who left the club at the weekend, apparently disenchanted with life at Top Field.
It all started well for Hitchin and Glen Lamacraft had a 'goal' ruled out for offside after a good through ball by Carl Williams.
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Hemel took the lead, however, after 26 minutes, a Martin Standen pass going astray and Anthony Thomas finishing with ease.
Two minutes later, defender Shaun Byrne beat Adam Scanlon and fired in Hemel's second goal from 25 yards.
With goals hard to come by for Hitchin - they have now scored six in 15 games - the portents were not good but there was no lack of effort from the Canaries.
In the second half, they opened brightly, with David Deeney going close and Lamacraft sending two headers over the bar.
Late in the game, Rob Beckwith saved from Abdul Yoki and Hitchin had two efforts, one from Gavin Jaggard and another by Scott Orphanou, that went close to reducing the arrears.
Manager Darren Salton was disappointed at another defeat but was optimistic that his side's poor run may be coming to an end.
"We had a team who were ready to fight and I was pleased with the level of effort - you could not fault them for that," he said.
Canaries: Beckwith, Childs, A Scanlon, Cretton, Frater, Deeney, Williams, Lamacraft, Standen (Orphanou 63m), Jaggard, Ducket (Pugh 90m).
P The alarm bells were already ringing at Hitchin after Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Banbury United.
Banbury, who had not won in nine games and had relegation worries of their own, deservedly beat a Canaries side that rarely got going.
The frowns at the end of the game said more than a thousand words - Hitchin are in freefall and if they don't start picking up some points, relegation may become a reality.
The Canaries may only need half a dozen points but on the evidence of the last three months, that may be a tall order.
Against Banbury, Hitchin failed to trouble veteran goalkeeper Alan Judge and their only goal came from the penalty spot.
The first half was poor by any standards although Jaggard could have given Hitchin a third minute lead when he volleyed over from close range.
New boy Standen went close with a shot that was comfortably saved by Judge while at the other end, Beckwith pulled off a point blank save from Andy Baird.
Banbury took the lead just two minutes into the second half when George Redknap volleyed home at the far post following a corner by Jon Gardner.
Shortly afterwards, French struck the top of the bar with a cross but in the 56th minute, Banbury extended their lead.
A free-kick by Darren Pond fell into the area, the Hitchin defence failed to clear the ball and Baird fired into the net from six yards. Within a minute, however, Hitchin pulled a goal back, Standen being pushed in the back by Banbury defender Wayne Blossom and the same player scoring from the penalty spot.
Blossom and Gardner both had chances to extend Banbury's lead but Hitchin were unable to find a way back - a familiar tale since the turn of the year.
Canaries: Beckwith, Childs (Gentle-King 9m), Ducket, Cretton, Folds (A Scanlon 62), Deeney, Williams, Frater, Standen, Jaggard, French.