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28 Apr 2007 SLP Hitchin Town 1-0 Halesowen Town PDF Print E-mail

British Gas Business Southern League Premier Division – Saturday, 28th April 2007

Hitchin Town 1 Halesowen Town 0

Halesowen suffered a cruel heartbreak after falling at the final hurdle in their play-off quest.  With Hemel Hempstead held to a draw in another part of Hertfordshire, a win would have taken the Yeltz into fifth spot in the table and their first ever appearance in the play-offs against Team Bath. Alas, it was not to be and the hard-work of the last few months came to a disappointing conclusion with mid-table Hitchin snatching a late winner in front of the large band of expectant Yeltz followers.

Martin Standen latched onto a long-ball forward for the Canaries in the 6th minute and struck the side-netting before nervy Halesowen settled and began to control proceedings. Yet despite their dominance and a string of fine saves from Michael Parkin, the Yeltz never truly appeared capable of confidently claiming the vital three points in their fourth consecutive away game without a goal.

In the 9th minute Paul Devlin caused goalkeeper Parkin to miss the ball but Lance Gentle-King was on hand to clear for a corner and Nick Amos then nodded Simon Forsdick’s cross just over the bar. Parkin then made a good blocking from Devlin in the 11th minute and on 20 minutes Gareth Sheldon miscued after being set up by a good move between Rob Warner and Amos. Ryan Frater headed Forsdick’s 29th minute cross behind for a corner and a further 30th minute corner saw Adam Scanlon head another Nick Amos header off the line. Hitchin then forced three corners before the interval and Mark Duckett lobbed onto the roof of the net in the 33rd minute. A minute later Lee Williams set up Forsdick but his shot brought a good blocking save from Parkin.

Parkin made an excellent 51st minute save at the foot of the post to keep out Jermaine Palmer’s header from a Williams free-kick and on 57 minutes Forsdick pulled the ball back across goal but the Canaries cleared. With more desperation and urgency to Halesowen’s play as the clock ticked on, substitute Junior Brown almost broke through after beating Parkin to a long ball in the 67th minute.

Bu Halesowen’s hopes began to disappear together with their best chance of the game in the 71st minute when goalkeeper Parkin raced out to head clear from Brown. With Parkin stranded, the ball fell to Forsdick but his 22-yard lob fell agonisingly onto the roof of the empty net. Forsdick then played the ball in for substitute Alex Cowley after 74 minutes but his effort was blocked for a corner.

With Halesowen forced to chase the game and use an extra forward in substitute Aaron Farrell, Hitchin ruined the party by grabbing the winning goal in controversial circumstances. The officials refused to allow Gary Knight back onto the field three times due to remnants of blood after receiving treatment for a mouth injury and Hitchin cruelly exploited the gap in the centre of the visiting defence in the 82nd minute when substitute Adam CUNNINGTON received the ball from Mark Duckett to hit a low drive beyond goalkeeper James Dormand from 15-yards for his first goal for his club. The deflated Yeltz were unable to respond and the final whistle confirmed another play-off chance had passed Halesowen by to call time on the 2006-2007 season.

Hitchin Town: Parkin; Deeney, A. Scanlon, Gentle-King, Frater, Lamacraft, Charles (Orphanou 47), Stevenson, Standen (Cunnington 82), Jaggard, Duckett. Unused Subs: Cretton, Childs, P. Scanlon.

Halesowen Town: Dormand; Warner, Hamilton (Farrell 75), Williams, Knight, Pierpoint, Sheldon (Cowley 51), Amos, Devlin, Palmer (Brown 61), Forsdick. Unused Subs: Haywood, Powell.

Referee: W. Porter

Attendance: 454
Booked: Knight (82)

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