No budget cuts says chairman
Hitchin Town 0 Bath City 4 NEIL JENSEN reports Hitchin Town chairman Terry Barratt has moved quickly to end speculation after the recent departure of players from Top Field. Following the decision made by his manager Darren Salton to release striker Josh
Hitchin Town 0 Bath City 4
NEIL JENSEN reports
Hitchin Town chairman Terry Barratt has moved quickly to end speculation after the recent departure of players from Top Field.
Following the decision made by his manager Darren Salton to release striker Josh Sozzo and midfielder Rob Miller, Barratt said: "The release of players has nothing whatsoever to do with budget cuts at the club, contrary to rumours currently circulating.
"The decision to release the two players concerned, both of whom were non-contract, was the decision of manager Darren Salton.
"We have not discussed cutting the playing budget at any point."
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Barratt added: "Recent results have been disappointing and no-one is more upset about this than the manager.
"He has to juggle his resources and he has the right to bring in or release any player he sees fit as long as he works within the playing budget."
Salton started the rebuilding process of his team after the Canaries crashed to their eighth defeat in 10 games on Saturday.
Sozzo, who returned to Hitchin in October 2006 after a brief period with Conference outfit St Albans, has suffered from illness and injury since rejoining the Canaries. Miller also came to Hitchin in October.
Salton said: "It's a shame to let good people go and it was a hard decision to make, but I have to look to the future and changes are needed.
"I wish them every success in the future and thank them for their efforts at Hitchin."
The Canaries travel to Rugby Town this Saturday and are at home to Clevedon on Tuesday night.
An overawed Hitchin side were well beaten on Saturday as league leaders Bath City recorded their 10th win in 11 games thanks to a stunning first-half display.
So one-sided was Saturday's game that Hitchin had just one chance in the entire 90 minutes, and that was comfortably dealt with by the Bath defence.
The opening half was a catalogue of goalscoring opportunities by the visitors and Hitchin fans perched at the opposite end would have seen very little of the action.
As early as the fifth minute, Canaries goalkeeper Rob Beckwith had to pull off a fine save from Bath leading scorer Scott Partridge.
Gethin Jones then missed an open goal and Beckwith was called into action when Mark McKeever was set up by Scott Rogers.
Partridge had another chance as Hitchin continued to live dangerously. But for the efforts of Ryan Frater and Beckwith, Bath might have built up a commanding lead before the half-hour mark.
As it happened, Bath went ahead after 33 minutes when Darren Edwards headed home at the far post from a cross by Partridge.
The muscular Edwards set up his striking partner Partridge after 38 minutes.
The former Yate man raced clear of the Hitchin defence, saw his shot saved by Beckwith's foot but the ball rebounded at the far post to the conveniently placed Partridge who chested it into the net.
Bath's first-half goal burst continued in the 41st minute when Edwards headed into the roof of the net from McKeever's corner.
There was still time for more Bath chances before the break but Rogers wasted two chances to increase his side's lead.
The pace slowed at the start of the second half but Hitchin showed plenty of spirit.
Lewis Hogg went close for Bath but then cleared off his own line from a tame Gavin Jaggard shot from close range - Hitchin's only chance of note.
But in the 73rd minute, Bath were presented with their fourth goal, Beckwith slicing his clearance and Edwards snapping up the chance to secure his hat-trick.
It could have been worse for Hitchin in added time when a long-range effort from Bath skipper Jim Rollo was saved by Beckwith.
Canaries: Beckwith, Childs, Ducket (Lamacraft 46m), Frater, Folds, Miller, Williams, Deeney, Dillon, Sozzo (Jaggard 46m), French (Orphanou 66m).