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Peterborough Sports 1 Hitchin Town 1

Saturday, September 12 2015

Anyone who expected Hitchin to have an easy passage through to the next round of the F A Cup because they were playing a team from three steps below who play in the United Counties League Division 1 were given a rude awakening. Peterborough Sports proved to be worthy opponents with a number of players who would not look out of place at a higher level and manager Mark Burke was just pleased to be in the hat for Monday’s draw. Peterborough Sports are an ambitious club with plans to rise up the non league pyramid and they have a neat and tidy ground. They regarded Hitchin’s visit as one of the toughest challenges in their history and it was to be expected they would rise to the challenge. 

The team news for Hitchin saw Sam Barker miss out through injury while Stuart Pearson was unavailable. The first half saw Hitchin dominate the possession without being able to produce a real cutting edge. Matt Lench had a shot blocked in just the second minute while Jonny McNamara shot wide soon after. Josh Bickerstaff headed over the bar from close range after Dan Webb headed on a Callum Donnelly free kick in the 13th minute and McNamara had a cross shot go just wide as Hitchin sought the opening goal. 

Peterborough came in to the game in the last 10 minutes of the half and Charlie Horlock made a couple of saves, one from danger man Avelino Vierra who had previously played for Corby. It was goalless at half time  but Hitchin took the lead after 55 minutes. Robbie Burns headed home from close range after good work down the left touchline by Bickerstaff and Lewis Rolfe. Peterborough Sports did not lie down and went looking for the equaliser. Alasan Ann was booked for a foul and Jordan Macleod shot just wide after 68 minutes. It was a Macleod corner that led to the equaliser as it was powerfully headed home by substitute Karl Gibbs after 72 minutes. Hitchin will be disappointed at the lack of marking as Gibbs had far too much time and space. 

Hitchin’s cause was not helped when Ann and Donnelly both had to be substituted before the end with Will Wright and Simon Martin coming on. But Hitchin came close to snatching a late winner with Lucas Kirkpatrick shooting just wide and goalkeeper Luke McShane pulling off a fine save from Burns after good work by Martin in the last minute of the game. 

The replay at Top Field on Monday will be no walkover as Peterborough Sports have shown their credentials and Hitchin will need to be fully focused and committed to reach the next round. Hitchin can certainly play better and hopefully the match winning players will offer a greater threat. The most important thing though is that Hitchin survived a difficult game in circumstances that in past seasons have seen ignominious exits to lower league sides. 

Teams

Hitchin  Horlock, Smith, Bickerstaff, Ann, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, Donnelly, Kirkpatrick, Burns, Lench  Subs Martin for Donnelly 84, Johnson, Corran, Wright for Ann 78, Walster, Payne.

Peterborough Sports  McShane Medwynter, Bloodworth, Sanders, Cox, Webb, Nyang, Graham,Vierra, Macleod, Cobb  Subs Cook, Brunde, Gibbs for Cobb 66, Sandby, Makate.

Bookings

Hitchin   Ann

Peterborough Sports   Nyang

 Attendance 187  (at least 50 from Hitchin)

 Roy Izzard



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