Canaries claim a trophy
Hitchin Town round-up by NEIL JENSEN Hitchin won the Errea Cup in style at Bromsgrove in only their second season in the Southern League. Darren Salton s team brought back to Hitchin arguably the most prestigious piece of silverware since the London Senio
Hitchin Town round-up by NEIL JENSEN
Hitchin won the Errea Cup in style at Bromsgrove in only their second season in the Southern League.
Darren Salton's team brought back to Hitchin arguably the most prestigious piece of silverware since the London Senior Cup was won in 1970.
The Canaries won seven games on the way to winning a competition that ranks only behind the two FA competitions in importance.
There was never any danger of Hitchin surrendering their one-goal lead from the first leg.
Goalkeeper Richard Wilmot was rarely troubled, and in the heart of defence, David Deeney, Liam Folds and Stuart Hammonds were outstanding.
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But the big difference for the Canaries, as it has been all season, was the role played by skipper Josh Sozzo.
It was Sozzo that opened the scoring after 18 minutes. A free-kick from Mark Ducket eluded the Bromsgrove defence and Sozzo crept in to get a slight touch and steer the ball into the net.
Hitchin could have scored again when Gavin Jaggard and Daniel French combined and the latter saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Lee Evans.
Bromsgrove, for all their effort, went close just once in the half, a header by Exodus Geohagen that hit the stanchion.
Two minutes before half-time, Hitchin extended their lead and all but finished the tie. Sozzo laid the ball off to Jaggard and he calmly shot low into the net.
The second half, with Bromsgrove playing downhill, was a different affair, with Hitchin's defence under pressure.
But once more, Folds, Hammonds, Ducket, Deeney and Wilmot stood firm.
Bromsgrove's Doyle skipped his way through but saw his shot blocked by Wilmot and Neil Davis also had a chance when he volleyed over the bar.
The home side eventually scored in the 77th minute, Paul Moore sliding the ball into the net after being teed-up by Davis.
It was not the start of a comeback, however, and Hitchin finished the game comfortably to win their first prize of any sort for five years and their first non-county competition since 1991.
Canaries: Wilmot, Deeney, Ducket, Hammonds, Folds, Hicks (Lochhead 55), Cavill, Lamacraft, Jaggard (Phelan 75), Sozzo, French (Mills 89).
P Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Gloucester City was not the best preparation for Hitchin's Errea Cup final second leg.
The Canaries' last away league game was typical end-of-season fare, with two teams casting one eye on the summer.
Ironically, the two teams have been in contrasting form - Gloucester rising up the table in recent weeks and Hitchin plummeting to just above the relegation zone.
Hitchin started well enough with Aaran Cavill going close twice in the first 10 minutes.
But as the game wore on, Gloucester could argue with some justification that they had the upper hand.
By half-time, big forward Jody Bevan had two headers that sailed just wide of the target and Richard Wilmot had pulled off a good save from Lyndon Tomkins.
At the start of the second half, Hitchin appeared to be more fired up and a free-kick from Stuart Lochhead was deflected just past the post.
But at the other end, Wilmot saved from Mark Preece and David Wilkinson was inches wide.
Hitchin responded with Cavill setting up Daniel French who volleyed too high.
Nine minutes from time, Gloucester took the lead.
A ball across goal by Justin Pritchard was met by Mark McKeever and his shot was parried by Wilmot to Luke Corbett who shot home from close range.
Hitchin's best chance of the entire game was in the last minute, Cavill controlling the ball well and then shooting wide.
Canaries: Wilmot, Deeney, Lamacraft, Ayres, Hammonds, Hicks, Cavill, Lochhead, Jaggard (Phelan 66), Hayes, French (W Mills 82).