Canaries keep cup run going
PUBLISHED: 12:41 05 October 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 06 May 2010
Hitchin Town round-up by NEIL JENSEN Hitchin Town have a new set of FA Cup heroes emerging after a 1-0 memorable win at Conference South side Bognor Regis. Written off after Saturday s goalless draw at Top Field, Hitchin triumphed over adversity to win th
Hitchin Town round-up by NEIL JENSEN
Hitchin Town have a new set of FA Cup heroes emerging after a 1-0 memorable win at Conference South side Bognor Regis.
Written off after Saturday's goalless draw at Top Field, Hitchin triumphed over adversity to win the replay on Tuesday night.
The Canaries saw goalkeeper Michael Parkin stretchered off in the 26th minute and had to play the rest of the game with defender Scott Cretton in goal.
But Hitchin put on a magnificent defensive display to protect Cretton and stop Bognor in their tracks.
The game had already looked a daunting one when Parkin left the field. Bognor made the early running, although Hitchin also had their chances, with Liam Folds going close with a header and Gavin Jaggard firing over the bar from close range.
Parkin fell awkwardly when he gathered a cross and Hitchin hopes appeared to have gone when Cretton took over.
But this was the night that Darren Salton's men came of age. They showed remarkable courage in dealing with a fast-moving Bognor side and within five minutes, stunned the home crowd with a goal.
Jaggard received the ball from Neil Pugh, steadied himself and fired home from six yards.
Bognor could not make much headway against the Hitchin defence. Cretton's only worry in the first period was a free-kick from Richard Hudson that was comfortably dealt with.
Hitchin's small band of travelling fans expected an onslaught from the home fans, but it did not really happen for Bognor. They continued to try and stretch Hitchin with their sweeping crossfield balls but in the penalty area, Ryan Frater and Folds provided a brick wall of resistance.
Hitchin, when they attacked, did so with rapier-like efficiency. David Deeney set up Daniel French whose shot was too tame to worry Craig Stoner in the Bognor goal. And a Mark Ducket low cross rolled across goal but just failed to connect with Carl Williams.
Deeney had a chance in the closing stages when French pulled the ball back but he shot narrowly wide.
For all Bognor's effort, they just could not seriously trouble a tenacious Hitchin side who held on to record a famous win.
"Fantastic," said Salton. "The lads have given everything and fought for every ball. I am very proud of them and they've all grown in stature.
"Now we have to deal with another tough tie at Clevedon but we're enjoying this."
Canaries: Parkin (Cretton 26), Ducket, Frater, Folds, Deeney, Williams, Pugh, Ross, Lamacraft, Jaggard, French.
Hitchin kept only their second clean sheet of the season on Saturday.
But it was a case of 'opportunity lost' as the Canaries drew an entertaining first match. There is little doubt that Jack Pearce's side were happier with the draw than Hitchin.
Hitchin went into this game without their leading scorer Chris Dillon. Without Dillon, Hitchin lacked the necessary edge up front.
Wide man Williams was thrust into an unfamiliar striking role in Dillon's place but he was a stranger to frontline action.
In a lively first half, Hitchin made all the chances, notably in the eighth minute when a cross to the far post by French was met by Pugh and his effort struck the outside of the post.
French was instrumental in all Hitchin's best moves.
He went close when he chipped the ball goalwards but goalkeeper Stoner palmed the ball away from danger.
In the 28th minute, Hitchin thought they had scored when Pugh's header was deflected in by a defender but the referee had already blown for an infringement.
Just prior to the interval, Williams shot across goal from a tight angle and Andy Ross saw his long-range drive saved by Stoner.
The second half was a different story as Bognor demonstrated some of their Conference South credentials.
Parkin was called upon to stop an early effort from Ben Watson, and save a low shot from Hudson. Then in-form Luke Nightingale turned and shot over the bar as Bognor piled on the pressure.
The best chance of the game fell to Bognor with 12 minutes remaining, and Pearce and his players will not willingly watch replays of the incident.
Parkin did well to stop a header from Ben Johnson but the ball rolled invitingly to Hudson, who only had to apply the faintest of touches to score.
But he shot wide from no more than six yards and Hitchin were reprieved.
Hitchin mustered up a chance with eight minutes to go but Deeney's shot was way too high.
Bognor had another chance in stoppage time but nobody could turn home Johnson's pass into the area.
Canaries: Parkin, Cretton, Ducket (Lamacraft 49), Frater, Folds, Deeney, Pugh (Bridge 69), Ross, Williams, Jaggard, French.
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