Canaries flying at season’s end

NEIL JENSEN reports Hitchin Town maintained their end-of-season flourish with a third win in four games and beat Clevedon for the first time in four meetings. The Canaries fans are warming to some of Darren Salton s new players – Jon Stevenson and matchw

NEIL JENSEN reports

Hitchin Town maintained their end-of-season flourish with a third win in four games and beat Clevedon for the first time in four meetings.

The Canaries' fans are warming to some of Darren Salton's new players - Jon Stevenson and matchwinner Martin Standen are a case in point, and both played a key role in the 1-0 victory on Tuesday night.

Stevenson has given Hitchin something they have been lacking for some years, a player who is willing to take a shot at goal from any distance. His low, long-range efforts have become a feature of recent Hitchin games and in the first half, he had two low drives that troubled the Clevedon defence.


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Stevenson and Standen combined for Hitchin's 37th minute goal, a cross from the midfielder that glanced off Standen's head despite the attention of Clevedon goalkeeper Danny Greaves.

The unfortunate Greaves was involved in a nasty collision with a goalpost at the start of the second half that resulted in a six-minute delay.

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When play resumed, Hitchin goalkeeper Michael Parkin brought down Jack Pitcher in the penalty area and Clevedon were awarded a spot-kick. Pitcher blasted his penalty into Fishponds Road.

Stevenson was Hitchin's biggest threat in the second period and went close on three occasions. In the last minute, Matt Rawlins headed against Hitchin's crossbar as Clevedon went in search of an equaliser.

Hitchin finish their league campaign on Saturday when Halesowen Town come to Top Field.

P Two of the softest goals you will ever see were enough to give Hitchin a well-deserved point in their final away game of the 2006-7 campaign.

With Premier Division status secured a few days earlier, it was a far more relaxed Hitchin side that took the field at Clevedon who themselves were still not safe from relegation.

But it was the home side that took the lead in the ninth minute, Mike Symons' shot taking a wicked deflection on its way past Hitchin goalkeeper Parkin.

Hitchin reacted well to this setback, however, and created a string of chances that went close to levelling the scores.

A long-range shot by Ryan Charles was pushed away by Clevedon keeper Greaves and the same two players were involved when another chance was cleared off the line in spectacular fashion.

Greaves did well to stop another long-range shot, this time from Stevenson, and then a cross by Carl Williams resulted in Gavin Jaggard hitting the crossbar.

Hitchin's equaliser came a minute from the break. Greaves came out to stop a Hitchin attack, collided with Jaggard but the ball rolled free and was on its way into the net when Charles finished from close range. Greaves was fortunate to only receive a yellow card.

The second period was not as convincing from Hitchin's perspective and in the 56th minute, Clevedon took the lead when Daine O'Connor played through to Pitcher and he placed his shot past Parkin in style.

Hitchin's second equaliser came nine minutes from the end, a high cross deceiving Greaves and the ball came off the shoulder of Glen Lamacraft and sailed into the net.

Canaries: Parkin, Deeney, A Scanlon (Orphanou 62m), Gentle-King, Frater, Lamacraft, Williams, Stevenson (Childs 77m), Jaggard, Charles, Ducket.

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