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Weymouth 1 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, October 27 2007

The name "Weymouth" was almost added to the list of historic FA Cup venues for the Canaries after Darren Salton's side performed heroics against Blue Square Premier opponents.

For 80 minutes, Hitchin held the lead against Weymouth, capitulating with just four minutes remaining of a captivating cup tie.

Few people gave Hitchin much chance at Weymouth, but it didn’t take long for the Canaries to silence the vast majority of the 1,106 crowd. A free kick from the right by Mark Ducket was swung in and Ryan Frater glanced the ball home with his head.

From thereon, Hitchin produced a magnificent rearguard action, with Frater – the man mountain – Lance Gentle-King and goalkeeper Ricky Perks the heroes of the hour.
Although Weymouth had plenty of possession, they were kept at bay by the Hitchin backline.

Stung by the early goal, Weymouth went close to equalising in the 13th minute, Jefferson Louis sending a shot on the turn goalwards from a Cross by Nick Crittenden. Weymouth threatened again before the break when Gavin McCallum took advantage of a defensive slip and went on to see his powerful shot parried by Perks. And in added time, Carl Williams cleared off the line from the ever menacing Louis.

Perks was again in action after the interval, saving a point blank effort from Louis and then the former Stevenage striker headed over with the goal at his mercy.

Hitchin were restricted to rare breakaways, but from one of these, Ducket saw his far post volley saved by Jon Stewart.

As the game drew to the closing stages, Hitchin came under increasing pressure and Perks had to be at his best to stop efforts from Conal Platt and Crittenden, the latter a diving save from a volley from the edge of the area.

With four minute remaining, Hitchin’s defence was at last breached, but it was an untidy goal that spared Weymouth’s blushes.  Crittenden’s corner was headed back to him and his second delivery was bundled over the line by Justin Roberts, much to the relief of the home crowd.

There was still time for Hitchin to snatch a dramatic victory, however. Wayne Mills raced through and saw his shot pushed aide by Stewart and then a long range free kick by Frater tested the Weymouth keeper in the final minute.

Hitchin’s players left the field to applause from both sets of fans and they certainly deserved it. Tuesday night gives them the chance to add their names to a list that includes FA Cup heroes like Mark Burke, Shaun Marshall and Gary Williams.

Weymouth: Stewart, Doe, Roberts, Kitmarike, Bernard, Crittenden, Robinson, Phillips (Browning 58), Coutts (Platt 69), Louis, McCallum

Hitchin: Perks, Deeney, Mountford, Fraser, Gentle-King (Childs 82), Williams, Sealey (James 77), Hill, Stevenson (Pringle 65), Mills, Ducket

Attendance: 1,106
Referee: R.Martin

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