King's Lynn 0, Hitchin Town 0

Martin Davis The Linnets went top of the Southern League Premier Division despite dropping two points at home to Hitchin. Team Bath were beaten at home by Clevedon, leaving Lynn top of the table on goal difference.

Martin Davis

The Linnets went top of the Southern League Premier Division despite dropping two points at home to Hitchin. Team Bath were beaten at home by Clevedon, leaving Lynn top of the table on goal difference.

Lynn included their two recent signings Bains and Hoyte together with Greg Crane in central defence. Keith Webb did have to make one enforced change, Shaun Carey picking up a leg strain at Bath.

Danny Bloomfield came in with Andrew Fisk, unavailable on Tuesday, returning to the subs' bench in an otherwise unchanged line up.

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Hitchin kicked off attacking the Seven Sisters' end in windy conditions. An early Jack Defty knockdown to Joe Francis saw the winger scuff his shot well wide.

Crane got in two good defensive headers, one from a long throw into the box by Hitchin's Paul Barnes before a lengthy stoppage to the player as he received a head injury.

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It had been a scrappy first 15 minutes mainly due to the strong wind and bumpy pitch when, from a long free-kick by Chapman, Hoyte headed the ball down to Turner and from his cross Lynn had strong penalty appeals turned away.

The first real chance fell to Danny Bloomfield on 20 minutes when he was played through by Camm but Hitchin 'keeper Bennett made a good save with his legs. From a free-kick for Lynn, Francis fired the ball across the goal but no-one was able to apply a final touch.

On 25 minutes from a Francis corner, Hitchin's 'keeper Bennett held Crane's header at full stretch under his crossbar.

Hoyte misjudged a ball which he thought would run out of play to allow Paul Barnes a cross shot which drifted just wide of Howie's goal. A further Hitchin attack saw Deeney play the ball to Mark Barnes whose cross was headed wide by Paul Barnes. A deep cross for Pepper for Hitchin saw Barnes try to screw the ball into goal but once again it drifted wide.

On the half hour Paul Barnes had a great chance when played in but he shot wide when clean through. A couple of minutes later Jack Defty was added to referee Maton's notebook for a foul on Deeney. At the same time Lynn were forced to make a substitution with Andrew Fisk replacing Ben Sedgemore, who appeared to have picked up a knock.

On 40 minutes, Hitchin had a passing move on their left which saw Lewis involved with the two Barnes's which ended with Hitchin being awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. Ducket's shot was then deflected from the wall by a corner which Hoyte headed clear.

For Lynn, Chapman made a break down the left wing and fired in a cross which was spilled by goalkeeper Bennett but he recovered to avert the danger. As the half drew to a close Fisk tested the goalkeeper with a low shot from 20 yards but he got down to make a good save.

Early second-half action saw a great run down the left wing by Ducket for Hitchin. From his cross Howie was forced to make two superb saves from Paul and Mark Barnes, the latter at very close range.

On 50 minutes, Crane played a 50-yard ball to Turner who forced a corner taken by Francis, the ball came out to Bloomfield who took his time but curled the ball wide.

Chapman, for Lynn, was brought down on the edge of the penalty area for which Hitchin's Mark Smith received a caution. Frew's weak kick hit the wall for Francis to shoot even wider.

Lynn came closer two minutes later when following a passing movement started by Bains and involving Frew and Jack Defty, this time Francis' fierce shot was brilliantly parried by goalkeeper Bennett. Nolan's close range effort was also stopped. By now Lynn were make desperate efforts to find a winner and Bains broke through to power a shot just over the bar.

t King's Lynn: Howie, Bains, Chapman, Hoyte, Crane, Camm, Turner, Sedgemore, J Defty, Bloomfield, Francis. Subs: Nolan, West, Frew, Fisk, Murray.

t Hitchin Town: Bennett, Deeney, Pepper, Williams, Stevenson, Smith, Lewis, Gregson, P Barnes, M Barnes, Ducket. Subs: Barr, Hay, Kenneford, Harusha, Olaleye.

t Referee: Mr M Maton, Oadby, Leicestershire.

t Attendance: 1,223.

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