Leaders showing vulnerable side

Woodford challenge for the ball
Woodford challenge for the ball

RUNAWAY leaders Hitchin Town are at last showing signs of a mid-life crisis with a second goalless draw against well-organised Woodford United following a first defeat of the season against Rugby Town and an unlikely 2-2 draw with lowly Uxbridge, writes Mike Tebbitt.

If anything Woodford looked the more likely of the two sides to score at Byfield Road on Saturday with top scorer Nathan Liburd smacking the crossbar as early as the 15th minute, having Hitchin goalkeeper Martin Bennent apparently well beaten.

More than half an hour had gone before the Canaries posed a threat and even then leading scorer John Frendo had his shot well saved by Reds’ goalkeeper Matt Finlay.

Defences dominated throughout but Woodford might easily have snatched all three points at the end when midfield man Neil King tip-toed through the Hitchin defence only to see his fierce shot saved by Bennett.

The earlier encounter between these two sides also ended 0-0 and it says much for the defensive qualities of Woodford manager Phil Mason that his team have already kept 13 clean-sheets so far this season.

With the points shared the Reds dropped down to eighth place level on 42 points with neighbours Daventry Town who have four games in hand. Hitchin meanwhile retain a 17-point cushion at the top of the table.

Over at Arlesey an injury to referee Brian O’Sullivan caused the top-of-the-table clash with Slough Town to be abandoned after 23 minutes with the visitors leading by a single goal.

Luke Keen who had scored Rugby Town’s last-minute winning spot-kick at Hitchin recently, followed up with the goal which earned ‘The Valley’ a point at Barton while the matches at Beaconsfield and Leighton ended in similar 1-1 scorelines.

Burnham will scarcely be relishing this Saturday’s trip to Daventry after losing 3-2 at home to a Northwood side which had conceded six of the best at home to the Town only a week earlier.

Marlow and Biggleswade Town both dropped points in a featureless 0-0 draw but Atherstone did well to win by 2-1 at Uxbridge.

North Greenford beat Soham Town by a similar margin.