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Stamford AFC beat Hitchin Town in the Southern League Premier Division Central

Stamford returned with their second victory of the season from Hitchin Town after a 2-1 win in Saturday's Southern League Premier Division Central clash.

The Daniels had been 3-2 winners at Top Field when the two sides met in the FA Trophy at the beginning of October.

And they again found the winning formula against the Canaries after first half goals from Lee Shaw and James Blunden.

Ashton Offler shrugs off a challenge.
Ashton Offler shrugs off a challenge.

Although Layne Eadie pulled a goal back for the hosts early in the second half, Stamford saw out the contest for their fifth away league win of the season.

Manager Graham Drury made two changes to his starting line-up following the home draw with Leamington the previous weekend.

Connor Bartle and Jack Duffy - who came off the bench to score the goals in the 2-2 draw - came into the eleven for Joe Burgess and Billy Bennett.

Tom Siddons looks to break away from two Hitchin players. Photos: Rob O’Brien
Tom Siddons looks to break away from two Hitchin players. Photos: Rob O’Brien

Hitchin came into the match flying high in second spot, having recorded an impressive 3-1 away win at Halesowen the previous weekend.

They were backed by a bumper crowd of nearly 700 and started brightly with an early chance when a cross from the right flashed across the goalmouth but thankfully for Stamford no-one was on hand to score.

Stamford’s first chance came when Duffy went close, but home goalkeeper Charlie Horlock was able to block.

Goalscorer Lee Shaw gives chase.
Goalscorer Lee Shaw gives chase.

The Daniels took the lead on 25 minutes when good build up play from Stamford saw the ball come out to Lee Shaw on the edge of the area and his delicate chip shot went over the bodies in the box and came back off the underside of the bar and into the net.

Stamford kept up the pressure and Harry Vince had a shot deflected wide for a corner.

From the resultant set piece, Stamford doubled their lead as the ball was floated into the box by Vince and flicked goalwards by Tom Siddons before being deflected home by Blunden.

Tendai Chitiza shows his close control.
Tendai Chitiza shows his close control.

Just before half-time, Hitchin almost reduced the arrears when a free-kick was fired towards goal but Michael Duggan was able to push the ball over the bar.

Into the second half and the hosts did reduce the arrears. Finley Wilkinson found Eadie who able to fire the ball past Duggan.

This brought a period of pressure from Hitchin but thankfully the Daniels defence were able to hold firm.

Mike Armstrong keeps his eye on the ball.
Mike Armstrong keeps his eye on the ball.

Stamford still looked dangerous and, midway through the half, a cross from the left was met by Siddons but his header was wide of the goal.

Siddons could have had another when he met a free kick delivered by Connor Bartle but again the Daniels frontman put his header wide.

Then a strong run from Vince found Shaw whose cross looked for Jack Duffy but, before the frontman could connect, the ball was cleared by the Hitchin defence.

Duffy almost grabbed a third for Stamford when he broke free of the Hitchin back line but, as he closed in on goal, he fired his shot wide.

Hitchin had a late chance from a corner but it was successfully cleared as Stamford secured the win that keeps them in eighth spot, just two points outside the play-off places.

Stamford: Duggan, Armstrong, Bartle (Brown-Hill), Vince, Offler, Blunden, Chitiza, Morgan (Glennon), Siddons (Charles), Duffy, Shaw. Sub not used: Burgess.

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