Late heartache for the Canaries

Hitchin Town 1 Hinckley United 2 There was late, late heartache for the Canaries against their visitors from the Blue Square North. A replay looked to have been secured by Tyron Sealey s penalty in the 88th minute. But Hitchin hearts were broken when midf

Hitchin Town 1 Hinckley United 2

There was late, late heartache for the Canaries against their visitors from the Blue Square North.

A replay looked to have been secured by Tyron Sealey's penalty in the 88th minute.

But Hitchin hearts were broken when midfielder Andy Hall netted his second of the afternoon with four minutes of added time already played.


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It was hard luck on the Canaries although home custodian Martin Bennett had undoubtedly been the busier of the two goalkeepers during the 90 minutes.

Bennett was peppered in the opening stages as Hinckley appeared quicker, faster and stronger as you might expect.

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Adam Webster was denied by the legs of the Hitchin keeper in one of several early attempts by the visitors.

Leon Kelly missed a decent heading opportunity from a Hall cross, while Hall then ballooned over a shooting chance and Kelly headed wide from Dominic Roma's cross.

It just seemed a matter of time at this stage before Hinckley managed to break the deadlock but it actually remained goalless until after half time.

Hitchin began to claw their way into the tie and Paul Barnes was blocked off by keeper Chris MacKenzie after some rare sloppy Hinckley defensive play.

Luke Gregson also stabbed wide from a free-kick, while Tom Bonner rescued his side after Derwayne Stupple got the better of MacKenzie.

Hinckley reasserted their superiority at the start of the new half and went ahead in the tie.

A superb cross from Connor Franklin saw Hall stoop to conquer and open his account for the afternoon.

This prompted Hitchin boss Darran Hay to throw on the pacy Sealey in place of Jonathan Woolf.

A second Hinckley goal was looking more likely than an equaliser for Hitchin at this stage.

And it nearly arrived as sub Alex Taylor fired against the foot of the post within two minutes of coming on.

Hitchin, much like the first half, began to offer some threat themselves including having one cleared off the line and strong handballs appeals waved away from a Paul Barnes cross.

Bennett saved well from a Hall drive to show the Hinckley threat remained as it developed into a cracking cup tie.

Ian Draycott and Brett Donnelly were also introduced into the action in the closing stages and their presence had the desired effect of a Hitchin equaliser.

After one Paul Barnes long throw caused panic, a second one led to MacKenzie being penalised.

Sealey took responsibility for the penalty and he must have been a relieved man as his kick was seemingly saved by the keeper but still dribbled in.

The Canaries were now level and looking forward to a cup replay 48 hours later.

But these hopes were dashed with virtually the last kick of the afternoon as Hall buried a loose ball in the penalty area to send the travelling contingent among the 503 crowd into raptures.

Their reward is a home tie in the fourth qualifying round against Curzon Ashton on October 25.

Canaries: Bennett, Barr (Donnelly 82m), Pepper, Williams, Gilbert, Cox, Woolf (Sealey 56m), Stupple, P Barnes, M Barnes, Gregson (Draycott 69m).

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