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Hitchin Town 4 Margate 3

Saturday, October 13 2007

Hitchin have had some memorable FA Cup ties over the years and this game will rank among the most dramatic in the club's history.

Regardless of the quality, this was a truly exciting cup tie that toyed with the emotions of the fans of both sides. After 56 minutes, the game looked won for Hitchin, but 11 minutes later, a replay looked on the cards. But the Canaries conjured up a fourth goal to clinch victory.

"Not bad for a team that canít score goals," said Hitchin manager Darren Salton, pointing to nine goals in their last two cup ties. As if to underline Hitchinís current plight, three of their four goals came from defenders and one from midfield.

Not that anyone was too worried about that, for the entertainment on offer was really quite superb. Hitchin started confidently, really fired up for the contest, and it was not surprise when Mark Ducket gave them a 20th minute lead. Earlier, Ducket had gone close with two headers. This time, he finished crisply after Tyron Sealey had run down the flank and passed to the waiting Ducket.

Hitchin were pushed back just before the interval and for a while, Margate looked like they might score. Ricky Perks pulled off three excellent saves from Jimmy Jackson and Charley Side. And right on half-time, Rob Haworth struck the crossbar with Perks beaten.

The game was poised for an exciting second half and it did not disappoint. In the 46th minute, Hitchin extended their lead with a goal to savour. Shane Hill, who had one of his best games for the Canaries, teed up Ryan Frater and the Hitchin skipper drove home powerfully from 35 yards.

Ten minutes later, Hitchin netted a third goal, catching the Margate defence napping. Carl Williams sent a well-weighted ball to the far post and Lance Gentle-King finished with ease.

Three goals up, the game looked well and truly won, but just as they had in the previous round, Margate staged a dramatic recovery, thanks to a change in formation.

Haworth, who had enjoyed a battle royal with Frater all afternoon, scored the first goal on the hour after a defensive slip. It looked no more than a consolation, buit five minutes later, James Pinnock headed home at the near post from a Side cross. Two minutes on, and Pinnock scored again, shooting into the net from just inside the area.

Margate were level for only two minutes, however, as in the 69th minute, Gentle-King scored his second of the game and third of the FA Cup campaign after Sealey had run menacingly into the penalty area.

There was not way back this time and Margateís frustration was compounded in the last minute when Steve McKimm was sent off.

Hitchin duly celebrated at the final whistle - the FA Cup has provided plenty of excitement this season for the Canaries and may still yield more thrills and spills, but this game will be talked about for many years.

Hitchin: Perks, Deeney, Mountford, Frater, Gentle-King, Williams, Sealey, Hill, Stevenson (Pringle 74), Mills, Ducket (James 67)

Margate: Chalmers-Stevens, Morris (Carder-Andrews 77), Smith, Side, Young, Trott, McKimm, Saunders, Pinnock, Haworth, Jackson

Attendance: 325

Referee: W.Norcott



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