The pitch was different and the weather was different but the result was the same as the Canaries again came away from Coles Park with a 1-1 cup draw. As in the FA Trophy two seasons ago, Hitchin Town would have been happy to still be in Monday’s draw for the next round.
The Canaries showed two changes from the starting eleven against Royston, with Roberts and Green stepping in for Cotter and Bailey. Hitchin started well and the artificial turf proved no obstacle as Liam Brooks forced an early save from Pajetat.
The early pressure was rewarded after 12 minutes with a well worked team goal. Johnson played the ball out to Donnelly moving to the left and he slipped the ball inside to Rolfe. The midfielder fed the overlapping Bickerstaff whose low cross was met by Brooks and Haringey defender Gordon. While there was debate about who got the final touch, there was no doubt about the quality of the move.
Brooks forced Pajetat to tip a shot onto the post and Webb was correctly flagged for offside when he found himself through on goal. However the Canaries were unable to press home their advantage and by the half hour mark, the hosts were back in the game. Gabriel and O’Donoghue were off target with their efforts but Heather came closest as his curling shot beat Johnson only to find the angle of post and bar.
Hitchin had further opportunities before the break as Dowie and Brooks were unable to turn home promising crosses from Green and Rolfe respectively. At the other end, Johnson was positive in closing down the advancing Haringey strikers.
HALF TIME – Haringey Borough 0 Hitchin Town 1
After the break, Haringey pushed forward and Heather was just off target again. However Hitchin came closest to doubling their lead when Dowie’s shot from the edge of the area struck the crossbar and bounced down onto the line before being cleared. Had the BBC chosen to cover a competitive cup tie, they would probably have confirmed that the ball did not wholly cross the line.
Within minutes of that effort, Haringey were level. The hosts had replaced Gordon with Ademiluyi and the tricky winger found too much space behind the left back before sending in a low cross that Richards directed home from close range.
The arrival of Ademiluyi, soon followed by fellow replacements Coley and Benjamin, gave Haringey a greater threat up front. McCaffrey, who had replaced Walster, got in an important defensive challenge while Johnson saved at close range from Ademiluyi, who also found the side netting with a shot on the turn.
The Canaries had strikes on goal as they tried to avoid an extra game on Monday but the efforts from Green, Brooks and Rolfe were all comfortable for Pajetat to deal with.
When Haringey visited Top Field for the Trophy replay, the Canaries comfortably ran out winners but Hitchin’s recent FA Cup replay record against Isthmian opponents is not illustrious. Hopefully they are still in the hat on Tuesday morning.
FULL TIME – Haringey Borough 1 Hitchin Town 1
Haringey Borough – Pajetat, Olufemi, O’Donoghue, Gordon, Mitchell, Yiga, Richards, Kay, Gabriel, Heather, McDonald; subs – Ademiluyi (for Gordon), C Benjamin, Coley (for McDonald), J Benjamin (for Heather), Aristidou, Bartram, Byfield
Hitchin Town – Johnson, Dowie, Walster, Rolfe, Webb, Roberts, Kirkpatrick, C Donnelly, Brooks, Green, Bickerstaff; subs – Bailey, Smith, McCaffrey (for Walster), Goode, Skye, Clifton, Charles (for Kirkpatrick)
Haringey Borough – Richards (61)
Hitchin Town – Brooks (12)
Haringey Borough – Gabriel