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23.08.2003 at 15:00 Clarence Park Attendance : 407
St Albans City
1 - 2
Hitchin Town
Referee : Peter Kirkup Ryman Premier League-match

Miguel De Souza (52)
James Ayres (5)
Andy Douglas (67)
Opening squads
Richard Wilmot
Lee Gledhill
Dominic Naylor
Corey Campbell
Derek Brown
Miguel De Souza
Mark Graham
Gary Wraight
Scott Oakes
Matt Glynn
Nic McDonnell
James Robinson
Matt Childs
Craig Rydeheard
Ryan Frater
James Ayres
Ian Scott
James Osborn
John Bone
Andy Douglas
Matt Nolan
Chris Dillon
Chris Seeby
Rob Smith
Steve Castle
Simon Martin
Jay Murray
Carl Williams
Stuart Maynard
Dean McElroy
Rob Smith -> Matt Glynn (67)
Simon Martin -> Nic McDonnell (75)
Jay Murray -> Miguel De Souza (75)
Carl Williams -> John Bone (63)
Stuart Maynard -> Chris Dillon (81)
Yellow cards
Derek Brown (58)
Dominic Naylor (72)
James Ayres (52)
Red cards
None. None
Match report
A local derby at Clarence Park against Hitchin Town on a warm and sunny afternoon. The Canaries looked very ordinary in the Herts Charity Cup curtain-raiser to the season, but they have since won both their opening games to sit at the top of the table. Among their ranks are former Saints James Ayres and Stuart Maynard and three other players each with over 500 appearances in the yellow shirt.

Cookie selected Wilmot in goal, 4 at the back: Gledhill, Brown (C), Campbell, and Naylor; 4 in the midfield: Oakes, Wraight, Glynn and Graham; and up front: McDonnell and De Souza. On the bench: Seeby, Smith, Castle, Martin and Murray. In the stand: Deacon and the injured Tomlinson.

This was very poor football. Dealing with the 'stats and facts', Hitchin opened the scoring on 5 minutes. Brown intercepted a pass just outside the area and his first-time back-pass to Wilmot was over-hit such that the keeper had no option but to catch the ball and concede a free-kick, from which Ayres scored with a powerful drive. A couple of half chances fell to each side before half-time which were not converted. H.T. 0-1.

For a few minutes after the break, City tried to keep the ball on the ground and scored a good goal after clever work by Wraight found Graham who crossed for De Souza to volley home from 10 yards. 1-1. 10 minutes later, Hitchin won a corner, played short to Nolan who did that football thing turning back to the bye-line to beat the defender before chipping over Wilmot to present an easy header to Douglas. 1-2. City brought on Smith for the disappointing Glynn, and then in a double substitution. Martin and Murray for the two strikers. City had a couple of appeals for a penalty rejected but Hitchin were awarded a spot-kick after an innocuous obstruction by Naylor. The kick was well wide which summed up the day. F.T. 1-2.

Both sides played the long ball and Hitchin are better at that game than The Saints. For me, the City work-rate was below par and the side played far too deep. There was limited team-work or initiative on the pitch and today, the midfield as a unit and as individuals was well below par. Graham worked hard but clearly favours the right to the left. Speculative long balls from the back did not find their target. The strikers were isolated and spent a frustrating afternoon chasing lost causes. It was worse for the disappointing crowd of 350 or so who had paid to watch. MotM? I would drink the champagne myself.

Entertainment 3/10. Technical Merit 3/10. Referee 5/10. Atmosphere 3/10.

Match report by Homer
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