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Hemel 0 Hitchin 0 (aet: Hemel win 8-7 on pens)

Saturday, September 26 2009

Hitchin went out of the Red Insure Cup at the first attempt after losing a marathon penalty shoot-out against Zamaretto Premier side Hemel Hempstead at Vauxhall Road.

The 16th penalty kick of the tie, coming after a tepid and goalless 120 minutes, saw Mark Smith’s kick saved, making Hemel winners by 8-7.

It could have been so different if a last minute effort by Zak Burke hadn’t cannoned off the crossbar, but Hitchin can claim they had the better of things against a Hemel side that is hardly recognisable from last season.

The first half was a tame affair with very little in the way of goalmouth action. Mark Smith cleared a header off the line, but apart from that, Hemel rarely threatened. Brett Donnelly struck the bar with a header, but the referee already blown for offside. Steve Velandia seemed to be the most dangerous Hitchin man, however, with a couple of shots and a free kick.

Donnelly went close again in the second half, but the second period was lacking in excitement for the 200 crowd. And so to extra time, and Jeff Hammond, still in search of a goal since his return to the side, shot over the bar. But the chance of the game fell to substitute Burke, who met a Ieuan Lewis cross and hit the woodwork. If that had gone in, it would have saved a lot of anguish!

The penalty shoot –out was extraordinary. Jamie Arlick, Burke, Velandia, Williams, Hammond, Payne and Grinahm all scored to level the scoreline in each case. It was left o the veteran Smith and his kick was well saved by Michael McEntegart.

Hemel Hempstead (0)0 Hitchin Town (0)0
Hemel win 8-7 on pens

1-0 Webb, 1-1 Arlick, 2-1 Hilliard, 2-2 Burke, 3-2 Higgins, 3-3 Velandia, 4-3 Martin, 4-4 Williams, 5-4 Gilbert, 5-5 Hammond, 6-5 McEntegart, 6-6 Payne, 7-6 Solomon, 7-7 Grinham, 8-7 Williams, 8-7 Smith kick saved

Hemel: Michael McEntegart, May (Webb 70), Solomon, Higgins, Matt McEntegart, Williams, Kamara (Bernard 76), Martin, Blake, Hilliard, Akers (Gilbert 91)

Hitchin: Bennett, Payne, Grinham, Gentle-King (Gilbert 91), Smith, Williams, Lewis, Velandia, B.Donnelly (Arlick 102), Hammond, Lee (Burke 71)

Referee: R.C. Hodges

Attendance: 200 (70 from Hitchin)

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