paid the price for sloppy finishing and a costly lapse in concentration as they slipped to their third straight defeat at Hitchin on Saturday.
Glue pot conditions didn’t help the cause as both sides were forced to look for the long ball. But despite edging the possession and creating the better of what few chances the game provided, the Lilywhites gifted the game to Hitchin seven minutes after the break.
John Lowe tried to play a quick chipped free kick forward to Billy Cove but the ball never looked like reaching its target and the home team broke away. Play moved out to the right flank and, when Williams sent over a pinpoint centre, Abbey headed past the exposed Pennant keeper John Cheesewright.
Hitchin opened the stronger and forced Pennant on the back foot. But having withstood the early pressure the visitors came back and began to threaten. Cove had a shot saved after 20 minutes and Billy Read blazed wide with the goal at his mercy. Substitute Stuart McLean, on for the injured Jason Gerraghty after ten minutes, also went close just before the break.
On 52 minutes, Hitchin grabbed the all-important goal but within seconds, Pennant could have been level.
Lowe, desperate to atone for his error, put in a glorious cross which Cove headed only narrowly wide. Tyrone Hercules and and John Kent both went close in the final fifteen minutes, but Hitchin held on.