Slideshow: Goals galore for Easter derby
Hitchin Town 2 Bedford Town 2 Four goals, chances galore, another red card for former Hitchin hero Josh Sozzo - this Easter derby at Top Field was a chilly thriller. It yielded just a point for the Canaries in their attempt to avoid the drop, a disappoint
Hitchin Town 2 Bedford Town 2
Four goals, chances galore, another red card for former Hitchin hero Josh Sozzo - this Easter derby at Top Field was a chilly thriller.
It yielded just a point for the Canaries in their attempt to avoid the drop, a disappointing return considering they played against 10 men for half the game.
The lead was claimed just five minutes in as David Deeney swung over a free-kick and Paul Barnes' header flew in the net.
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But Bedford had levelled and gone ahead by midway through the half as Hitchin failed to build on their early goal.
An equaliser was coming and it duly arrived after 19 minutes when Sozzo beat the offside trap and shot low past Martin Bennett.
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Sozzo had another opportunity in the lead-up to Bedford's second goal. From the resulting corner, Jon Woolf's delivery was headed home by Ian Draycott.
Jon Darby headed wide as the Canaries again struggled to deal with a set piece.
After Jon Stevenson's shot was cleared off the line by Craig Grieve, Bedford looked to extend their lead as Stuart Sinclair shot wide before Sozzo was smothered by Bennett and Draycott headed over from the resulting corner.
Hitchin equalised two minutes before the break with Deeney's great cross volleyed in by Paul Barnes on this occasion.
This was not the end of the first-half incident with volatile striker Sozzo to the fore.
Less than a minute after tangling with Deeney, Top Field old boy Sozzo lunged in on the same player.
It was an awful 'challenge' and gave referee Rathbone little option but to give Sozzo an early bath and leave his side the remainder of the 45 minutes with just 10 men.
What a pity such a talented footballer continually lets himself down in this manner.
Bedford made a double switch at the break, taking off both full-backs, and they were always a threat on the break through Draycott and sub Andrew Phillips.
Phillips rolled a golden opportunity wide within seconds of entering the fray which set the tone for a half laden with chances.
Hitchin's best ones fell to the Barnes brothers - three to Paul and two for Mark - while a Mark Ducket corner landed on top of the bar in the swirling wind.
Bedford keeper Andrew Stevens was inspired but he was let down by his strikeforce at the other end, Draycott spurning a hat-trick of decent shooting chances and the ever lively Phillips blazing over.
Overall a draw was fair, although both sides are still looking anxiously at the relegation trapdoor.
Canaries: Bennett, Deeney, Pepper, Williams, Stevenson, Smith, Olaleye (K Fehmi 57m), Gregson, P Barnes, M Barnes, Ducket (Kenneford 74m).