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Folkestone Invicta 0 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, October 3 2009

Luke Donnelly at Folkestone

This was never going to be a goal fest. Folkestone had scored a goal a game before this FA Trophy tie and Hitchin had struggled to find the net in recent weeks. Both sides had watertight defences. So little wonder then, that the game was decided by a solitary goal.

But few people in the 255 crowd denied that Hitchin thoroughly deserved their win after dominating the 90 minutes. And the 40-odd Hitchin fans were not surprised that midfielder Richard Howell, after coming on as substitute, provided the chance for Jamie Arlick to settle the game.

It was tight in the early stages and that was when Folkestone had their only chance of note, a shot from former Gravesend man Jimmy Jackson that hit the woodwork. But after that, it was all Hitchin, with only their finishing letting them down.

Arlick had two chances to open the scoring in the first half, but the best opportunity fell to Jeff Hammond, who was set up by Arlick but his shot was hasty and high.

It was much the same in the second half, with Zak Burke twisting and turning before shooting over the bar and then a long-range effort by Luke Donnelly that was saved by Folkestone keeper Jack Delo.

Burke tested Delo again after a long run that deserved to be rewarded with a goal and then Arlick had another effort that sailed over.

The excitement stakes increased in the closing minutes, with Howell’s free kick being pushed aside from Delo and then seconds later, Donnelly’s shot pounding against the crossbar.

With two minutes remaining, and a replay looking likely, Arlick saved the day for Hitchin, shooting home from inside the area after Howell’s deft touch.

It was no more than Hitchin deserved and their impressive away form continues. Nobody has beaten Colin Payne’s men in 90 minutes on their travels and this season their record is five wins and two draws in seven games. A penalty shoot-out defeat is the only blemish. Canvey Island await Hitchin in the first qualifying round on October 17.

Folkestone Invicta (0)0 Hitchin Town (0)1

0-1 Arlick 88 mins

Folkestone: Delo, Vincent, Burchell, Friend, Chappell, M.Everitt, Smith (Summerville 83), Grant, Dryden, Yianni (Driscoll 85), Jackson

Hitchin: Bennett, Reece(Gentle-King h/t), Grinham, Williams, Gilbert, Smith, Lewis, Hammond (Howell 74), Arlick, L.Donnelly, Burke (B.Donnelly 85

Attendance: 255 (40 from Hitchin)
Referee: C.Hicks

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