Cup heartbreak for Canaries
FA Cup third qualifying round replay Hitchin 2 Clevedon 2 (Clevedon won 4-3 on penalties) HITCHIN S FA Cup hopes were dashed by nine-man Clevedon on a night of high drama at Top Field as the Canaries lost at home in the competition for the first time sinc
FA Cup third qualifying round replay
Hitchin 2 Clevedon 2
(Clevedon won 4-3 on penalties)
HITCHIN'S FA Cup hopes were dashed by nine-man Clevedon on a night of high drama at Top Field as the Canaries lost at home in the competition for the first time since 1997.
Amidst the heartbreak of FA Cup exit despite a two-man advantage, Hitchin can draw comfort from the fact they came back twice from the dead and took the game to penalties.
Hitchin started well enough with a fast-paced approach that saw David Deeney, Carl Williams and Glen Lamacraft run the midfield. But it was Clevedon that took a surprise lead after 40 minutes, Rob Scott's header creeping over the line following a corner.
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Hitchin laboured for most of the second half, unable to seriously test Greaves. Daniel French with a shot and a header from Liam Folds represented their best efforts as Clevedon dealt with everything thrown at them.
It was a stroke of good fortune that handed Hitchin the chance to equalise in the 76th minute. Williams was brought down by Mike Trought in the area, and in the protests, Geraint Bater was red-carded. Deeney scored from the spot and suddenly the game had swung Hitchin's way.
Two minutes later, Clevedon's Scott Hendy was also sent off after throwing a punch at Hitchin substitute Mark Bridge.
But Hitchin struggled to break down the nine men and in extra time, the Canaries seemed to have run out of ideas. In the 110th minute, Clevedon stunned the crowd with a breakaway goal. Mitchell Page took advantage of a defensive slip, squared the ball to Leon Hapgood and his low shot beat Hitchin goalkeeper Rob Beckwith.
It looked all over for Hitchin, but in the last minute, Lamacraft swept the ball home from a Mark Ducket cross to send the tie to penalties.
Beckwith missed Hitchin's first kick and it was all uphill from thereon. Clevedon clinched a place in the fourth qualifying round by 4-3 on penalties, leaving Hitchin to count the cost of failure.
Hitchin: Beckwith, Pugh (Ross 65), Ducket, Frater, Folds, Deeney, Williams, Lamacraft, Jaggard (Bridge 65), Sozzo, French