Hay plots Great Escape

Hitchin Town 2 Yate Town 1 DARRAN Hay might just be assembling a team to perform the great escape on this evidence. The Canaries still sit second from bottom in the BGB Premier Division but are now just five points off safety with a game in hand. Hay han

Hitchin Town 2 Yate Town 1

DARRAN Hay might just be assembling a team to perform the great escape on this evidence.

The Canaries still sit second from bottom in the BGB Premier Division but are now just five points off safety with a game in hand.

Hay handed debuts to ex-Stotfold and Arlesey midfielder Luke Gregson as well as striker Paul Barnes, most recently at Arlesey but also a regular scorer with Barton Rovers and AFC Wimbledon in his time.

Barnes marked his debut with a goal and some nice touches, while Gregson beefed up the midfield with his muscular presence.

Mid-table visitors Yate almost made the perfect start when they had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled out for a foul by Matt Rawlins on Ricky Perks.

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After this, Hitchin generally held sway with a succession of half chances and Yate content to play on the break.

An offside flag saved Mark Bridge's blushes when he headed wide a glorious chance.

Iuean Lewis was causing problems down the right and the ex-Stevenage Boro and Arlesey youngster volleyed wide when he found himself in a central position.

Yate's only other threat of the half came from a set piece with an unmarked Lee Jeffries heading wide from a corner.

Bridge's weak finish on the restart failed to seriously trouble keeper Tony Court as it looked like being more of the same.

But then Yate struck very much against the run of play six minutes into the half.

The goal was a soft one as centre-half Jon Stevenson made a hash of a clearance and opposing centre-back Mike Taylor accepted the opportunity with glee.

Barnes was always lively up front and he forced Court into a good save before opening his Hitchin account on the hour mark.

It was another goal from a set piece as Mark Ducket's corner was flicked in by Barnes.

Barnes soon had a new strike partner as little was replaced by large, the diminutive Bridge off and gangling new boy Marlon Campbell on.

Campbell showed promise and he could soon have made a name for himself when he was sent clear after a one-two with Barnes.

But Court saved his shot and Hitchin were also thwarted when Lewis' cross-shot went just the wrong side of the post.

Ambitious penalty appeals were waved away when veteran Mark Smith took a tumble in the box as desperation began to show.

The Hitchin players, management and fans alike need not have worried though as a winner arrived in the 83rd minute.

Stevenson knocked it through for David Deeney to ram the ball past Court and start the celebrations.

That was that although sub Wayne Mills and Tom Pepper could have extended the lead in added time.

Canaries: Perks, Deeney (Barr 88m), Pepper, Williams, Stevenson, Smith, Lewis, Gregson, Bridge (Campbell 66m), Barnes (Mills 82m), Ducket.

* Several players have been released by Hay - the former Arlesey duo of Brett Donnelly and Owen Beale, plus Ricky Miller and Nick Mountford.

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