Drop fears over after double win
Hitchin Town round-up by NEIL JENSEN Hitchin Town won their second successive home game in four days when they beat relegation threatened Northwood 1-0 at Top Field on Tuesday night. It was a much improved performance by the Canaries, with the deciding go
Hitchin Town round-up by NEIL JENSEN
Hitchin Town won their second successive home game in four days when they beat relegation threatened Northwood 1-0 at Top Field on Tuesday night.
It was a much improved performance by the Canaries, with the deciding goal coming 15 minutes from time from the penalty spot.
The scorer was Martin Standen, who netted his third penalty strike since joining the club.
Hitchin could have had a number of goals in the first half after playing some fast and direct attacking football.
Jon Stevenson, Ryan Charles and Gavin Jaggard all went close to opening the scoring.
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At the other end, Michael Parkin pulled off two good saves, notably when he tipped a header from Ryan Tackley over the bar.
The second half was less impressive, but in the 75th minute, Mark Ducket was brought down in the penalty area and Standen stroked home the spot-kick.
Northwood struck the crossbar through Harry Hunt four minutes from the end but Hitchin held on to climb the table and banish any thoughts of relegation.
Hitchin now face Clevedon twice in the next week.
On Saturday they travel west and on Tuesday night, in the penultimate home game, they play host to the same opposition.
P Stevenson, Hitchin's recent signing from Enfield, became the club's saviour with a hat-trick as the Canaries all but secured their Premier Division status for next season on Saturday with a 4-2 home win over Yate.
Stevenson, one of an influx of relatively untried players introduced by manager Darren Salton in the past month, scored three goals in the second half as Hitchin scored more than one goal in a game for the first time since December.
The last time Hitchin fans could celebrate more than a single goal in a game was, ironically, against Yate Town. And coincidentally, a hat-trick was scored on that occasion. It may be the most important treble scored by a Hitchin player in years.
There was a great sense of relief that Hitchin had finally found their shooting boots.
All four goals were good ones, with the first, a first-time shot from Standen after eight minutes, setting the tone for the afternoon.
Yate equalised with soft goal from a corner on 31 minutes. The last Yate player to touch the ball was Scott Brice but Yate's disinterest in the game was clear from this moment - they barely acknowledged the goal.
Just before the interval, however, Hitchin had a double let-off.
A long range shot by Paul Chenoweth hit the crossbar and as it rebounded, Jake Reid's header was also denied by the woodwork.
After the break, though, Hitchin stepped up a gear. Standen and Stevenson both went close before the Canaries regained the lead in the 60th minute.
Charles crossed to Stevenson who hit a powerful volley past Yate goalkeeper Sam Pearce from the edge of the area.
Once again, Yate came back, taking advantage of a Hitchin attack breaking down and scoring through substitute Jack Smythe.
There was still some life left in Hitchin and in the 84th minute, Stevenson applied the finishing touch as the ball ran loose in the penalty area.
In the final minute, Yate's Steve Jenkins was red carded for bringing down Charles in full flow.
The drama was not over as in added time, Stevenson fired home a low shot after being set up by Ducket.
Canaries: Beckwith, Deeney, A Scanlon, Gentle-King, Frater, G Lamacraft, Williams (Orphanou 82m), Stevenson, Standen, Charles, Ducket.