Hitchin Town U18s boss Damon Lathrope on Sam Simpson’s head injury during 1-0 FA Youth Cup victory over Barking: ‘First and foremost are thoughts are with him and his family’

PUBLISHED: 00:10 12 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:18 12 September 2018

Hitchin Town U18s beat Barking U18s in their FA Youth Cup preliminary round tie. CREDIT @laythy29

Hitchin Town U18s beat Barking U18s in their FA Youth Cup preliminary round tie. CREDIT @laythy29

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Damon Lathrope’s talented Hitchin Town U18s eased past Barking U18s through a 17th minute goal from Rueben Kestler in their FA Youth Cup preliminary round at Top Field on Tuesday evening.

However a bad head injury to young Canaries keeper Sam Simpson was the only concern of Fishponds Road academy boss Lathrope.

The teenage netminder came racing out of his goal early in the second half to bravely block the ball from onrushing Barking forward Haile Richards.

As he made contact with the East Londoner in a fair but full-blooded challenge between both parties Simpson sustained concussion which was confirmed by officials later.

There was a delay of 34 minutes as the prone youngster was treated by physios while an ambulance was called.

At first the courageous shot-stopper lay motionless on the turf before he eventually sat up. He was given foil to keep him warm on a cold and wet evening as his father looked.

Hitchin sources confirmed to CometSport an ambulance had been called immediately once it became clear the injury was severe. Physios on the pitch spoke with paramedics over the phone before it was agreed the concussed teen could be led off the pitch.

It is understood the match was moments away from being abandoned by referee Cartwright before play resumed at nearly 10pm.

The 28-year-old Lathrope – who was forced to quit football after damaging major arteries and veins when badly breaking his leg against Boreham Wood in February – said after the match: “First and foremost our thoughts are with Sam and his family.

“We’re hoping his injury isn’t too severe. All the lads have sent messages to him, or are about to. He’s a brave boy and hopefully he’ll be back before too long.

“No-one likes to see serious injuries, especially head injuries. I hope it’s just a case of a sore head but it was right that he was checked out – the main thing is that he’s going to be ok. Football comes a distant second when something like that happens.”

The young Canaries showed composure against a lively Barking side with left-footed midfielder James Runham catching the eye – but it was the assured performance of his side including goalscorer Kestler which had Lathrope full of admiration for his youngsters.

In difficult playing conditions on an autumnal evening his talented teens attempted to play the ball out from the back, while showing flair allied with solidity throughout the side.

Lathrope began his career with Norwich City’s academy before he was snapped up by the then-Torquay manager – and uncle – Paul Buckle eight years ago. He was also part of the side which lost the 2011 League Two play-off final to Stevenage.

Lathrope added: “I’m proud of my team tonight. They showed courage in playing the way they did. They are rightly celebrating in dressing room after a hard-fought match and so they should.

“They all did well including Kestler but there is so much more to come from them.

“We’re at home in the next round [to either Woodford Town or Grays Athletic] early next week and my message to Hitchin fans would be to come along and cheer on the next generation.”

See CometSport for more details on when the talented young Canaries will play the next round.

Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29.

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