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Hitchin Town 3 (3) Hoddesdon Town 3 (2)

Monday, December 2 2013

In the lead up to this game questions were asked about whether it was right to charge normal admission prices but such was the incident, drama, highs and lows in this rollercoaster of a cup tie that fans got more value for money than usual. It really was a bizzare match with the Hitchin fans put through all manner of emotions as their team hit rock bottom only to then hit great heights as they came back from the dead to eventually win a penalty shoot out - as rare an occurrence as England winning a penalty shoot out!

Hitchin were without Sam Barker, Stuart Pearson and Tahj Bell but were able to give Garry Jones his debut while Terry Dixon came off the bench to also make his debut. Michael King and Gary Wharton were given full games which was another bonus as it is necessary to keep all the first team squad fully involved.

Unfortunately for Hitchin Hoddesdon belied their lower status in the first half as they incredibly scored 3 goals without reply and played very good football. Hitchin will want to forget their poor defensive display  in the opening period but credit Hoddesdon for their excellent finishing. The impressive Adam Bolle scored a header after 6 minutes and a screamer from 25 yards on 26 minutes before Gary Simmonds added to the humiliation on the half hour.

Hitchin were seemingly down and out despite having had good possession and creating chances with keeper Reece Buck making one excellent save from Kim Forsyth. It was noticeable the Hitchin players were sent out for the second half very early as the management had obviously made some telling points. From the whistle Hitchin pinned Hoddesdon back and relentlessly pushed toward goal. Dixon replaced Matt Lench and looked a very good addition to the squad. A goal had to come and it took a brilliant finish by Wharton to make the breakthrough on 73 minutes.

Hitchin were really going for it and Dixon scored with a very clever finish from Michael Noone's cross after 80 minutes before 2 minutes later Wharton headed home to complete the incredible comeback. The winning goal did not come and extra time saw Hoddesdon come back in to the game. Dixon came close for Hitchin and also had a goal controversially disallowed by an over zealous linesman.The drama was not over as with the last kick of the game David Hulman made a brilliant save from point blank range from Bolle.

So it was penalties and Hulman was the hero with 3 excellent saves after Lewis Rolfe, Rogan McGeorge and Garry Jones scored with King the only one to miss. So a great end to a crazy night as Hitchin again proved their resilience and proved they do not know when they are beaten.

Hitchin win 3-2 on penalties.

Hitchin: Hulman.Rolfe, Bickerstaff, Lench, Webb, Jones, McGeorge, Wharton, King, Forsythe, Noone.  Subs Donnelly, Martin, Gregson for Forsythe 83, Dixon for Lench 56, Izeidi for Wharton 118

Attendance 82

Roy Izzard

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