Home cup tie for Salton’s men
HITCHIN Town s progress in the FA Cup this Saturday is being blocked by a club from the Conference South. Bognor Regis are visiting Top Field in the second round qualifying stage of the competition. Seventeen-year-old Scott Orphanou made a dream start to
HITCHIN Town's progress in the FA Cup this Saturday is being blocked by a club from the Conference South.
Bognor Regis are visiting Top Field in the second round qualifying stage of the competition.
Seventeen-year-old Scott Orphanou made a dream start to his first team career at Hitchin with the goal that earned the Canaries a point in Saturday's 2-2 draw at second-placed Mangotsfield United.
Orphanou, who came on as a substitute in the 69th minute, showed maturity beyond his years when he slid the ball into the net.
The goal completed a remarkable comeback for Darren Salton's men, who were 2-0 down at the interval.
The point also extended Hitchin's unbeaten run to eight league and cup games - they have not lost since the second game of the campaign.
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But it was a jaded Hitchin side that took the field and played out the first half.
A relatively bright opening, where Gavin Jaggard shot into the side netting and Liam Folds saw his header saved by Michael Green, evaporated disappointingly early.
In the 20th minute, a free-kick from Aaron Cornwall curled round the Hitchin wall and beat goalkeeper Stephen Graham.
Cornwall was the scorer six minutes from the interval when Mangotsfield extended their lead, with question marks asked about the Hitchin defence once more.
The second half started much better for the Canaries, and in the 48th minute they were given a chance to get back in the game.
Following a corner, Jack Allward handled the ball and from the penalty spot, David Deeney scored.
In the 61st minute, Graham went down injured and was replaced by Michael Parkin.
Hitchin overcame the setback well, however, and continued to work hard.
Parkin turned goal provider seven minutes from time. His long clearance sailed beyond the Mangotsfield back line, and Orphanou showed great anticipation in calculating where the ball would land.
He ran through and stabbed the ball past the onrushing Green. It was a magical moment for Orphanou and the Hitchin fans who showed their appreciation for the youngster.
Three minutes later, Orphanou was handed another chance but his shot was blocked by Green. And in the last minute, Mark Ducket's volley was well saved by the Mangotsfield goalkeeper.
Salton was delighted with the point and said: "We showed a lot of character to come back.
"What a story though - young Scott has come on and scored a great goal - he has a real chance of making it at this level. I am so pleased for him."
Canaries: Graham (Parkin 61), Pugh, Ducket, Frater, Folds, Deeney, Williams, Lamacraft, Bridge (Orphanou 69), Jaggard, French.