FA CUP Hitchin Town 0-2 Solihull Moors: Mark Burke’s braves bow out of the cup with pride after battling performance
PUBLISHED: 14:43 11 November 2018
Hitchin Town hosted Solihull Moors at Top Field in the first round of the FA Cup on Sunday. Read on for LAYTH YOUSIF’s
Hitchin Town’s memorable FA Cup run came to an end after an Adi Yussuf second half penalty and a Danny Wright finish clinched a flattering 2-0 victory for Solihull Moors at Top Field.
George Osborne tangled with Canaries Noah Chesmain in the box in the 72nd minute before falling, to leave referee Miller with no option but to point to the spot.
The result was tough on Mark Burke’s battling Canaries who had thrilled many during their stirring campaign.
They were queuing down the Fishponds Road before kick-off as cup fever shook the normally quiet and unassuming market town of Hitchin.
The town may be busy rightly earning itself a reputation as a haven for quality independent shops offering everything from coffee to couture, restaurants to rhythms but it has been the football club that has been attracting national acclaim for their exploits.
Their campaign has also pleased the bean-counters after pulling in a cool £67,500 that included an extra £12,500 on Sunday from the BBC for the privilege of screening the highlights against the Midlanders who ply their trade two divisions above.
The Canaries have made national headlines during their stirring run to the first round of the world’s oldest knock-out tournament for the first time in 23 years.
The BBC filmed the draw for this round from Top Field which was beamed to more than 130 countries around the globe – with the national broadcaster notching record viewing figures for an event at that stage of more than 1.6 million people.
No-one in the sell-out crowd of more than 3,000 would have complained at the shapeless start as the Canaries displayed the courage and character they’ve shown throughout their stirring cup run - that had seen them triumph as underdogs on never-to-be-forgotten evenings at Didcot Town and Leatherhead.
Moors’ Jamey Osborne fired a shot narrowly over Michael Johnson’s bar on nine minutes but it was Burke’s battling boys that dominated possession throughout a hard-fought if scrappy opening.
Two players who have featured throughout the run, Ezra Forde and Isaac Galliford, looked lively throughout the opening stages as they looked to pull the visitors defence out of position.
The latter nearly scored after angling a drive that flew over Ryan Boot’s goal seven minutes before half-time.
Kwame Thomas drilled a shot at Johnson on 41 minutes that the Canaries keeper gathered calmly as both sides would have been satisfied at heading into the break goalless after a hectic final few minutes in which both sides broke with optimism if not an end product.
The second half continued in the same vein as Hitchin looked to dominate their opponents in front of an excellent attendance of 3,148 which included around 200 visiting fans.
After Yussuf put the Moors ahead with 18 minutes to go the lively attacker Danny Wright doubled the lead minutes later with an excellent strike to seal the tie.
Of course there was disappointment among many in the sellout crowd – but the overriding emotion after Burkey’s boys made it to the first round for the first time since 1995 should be one of utter pride in their magnificent achievements that has had the whole of the football world sit up and take notice of this wonderful little club.