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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Snapshots - Hitchin Town FC

Hitchin Town vs Mangotsfield United. Southern League Premier Division. 17 February 2007, Top Field. Score 1-0.  Attendance: 320
A ground that had long been on my Ďhit-listí, Top Field did not disappoint and I donít know of any other venues, certainly at this level, where wooden terracing still exists. Both clubs had started the season off well but had lost their way of late and were in desperate need of a victory to re-ignite their play-off hopes. Mangotsfield arrived having picked up just three points since Christmas. Hitchin meanwhile had lost six of their last seven matches and in addition were without no less than five first team regulars due to suspension. One suspects that odds on a goal-less draw were rather short.

That definately looked the most likely outcome during a dismal first half. Mangotsfield at least forced a couple of routine saves from Hitchinís second choice keeper Michael Parkin and had claims for a penalty waved away; but Hitchin barely threatened the visitorsí goal at all, despite some lively play from Carl Williams down the right. It had to get better, and thankfully it did. Not surprisingly, with Hitchin producing little from open play it required a set-piece to finally achieve a breakthrough as, on 53 minutes Chris Dillon scored from close range following a Williams corner, to the delight and no little relief of the home supporters (pics 9 and 10).

Cheered on by a small band of supporters at the far end, the visitors finished the stronger of the two sides but were unable to find a way through, although Hitchin had Rob Miller to thank for a goal-line clearance late on. DB

More photographs...