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Bognor Regis Town 0 Hitchin Town 1

Tuesday, October 3 2006

Hitchin Town have a new set of FA Cup heroes emerging after this memorable win at Conference South side Bognor. Written off after the goalless draw at Top Field, Hitchin triumphed over adversity to win this tie.

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, but 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 couldn’t 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 didn’t really happen for Bognor. They continued to try and stretch Hitchin with their sweeping crossfield balls, but in the penalty area, Ryan Frater and Liam Folds providing 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 tonight. Now we have to deal with another tough tie at Clevedon, but tonight we’re enjoying this."

Bognor Regis: Stoner, Piper, Rowland (Johnson 69), Budd (Birmingham h/t), Pearce, Tuck, Watson, Howell (Wallis-Taylor h/t), Hudson, Nightingale, Beck

Hitchin: Parkin (Cretton 26), Ducket, Frater, Folds, Deeney, Williams , Ross, Lamacraft, Jaggard, French

Attendance: 340

Referee: I.Cooper

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