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Hitchin Town 3 Biggleswade Town 2

Monday, November 14 2016

The Canaries booked their place in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy but only after a close-fought replay against the Waders.

Hitchin made one change from Saturday’s game with Brett Donnelly starting in place of Matt Lench who had received a knock at the end of the first match. Biggleswade also made changes to their starting line-up with Evan Key and Conrad Lucan stepping up from the bench.

The early momentum was with Biggleswade, unsurprisingly for the side that scored so late in the previous game. Lucan and Rhys Hoeness put the Canaries defence under pressure with their running and Craig Daniel and Connor Hall both had efforts wide. 

Hitchin started to gel as the half progressed with Will Wright heading wide and then Callum Lewis required to clear a teasing cross from Kane Smith before it could reach Robbie Burns. Burns did then get his head to a cross from Wright but it was at a good height for Ian Brown to collect.

The game continued to flow from end to end as Tony Burnett failed to capitalise on one opportunity for Biggleswade before Hoeness broke into the box and forced a good low stop from Michael Johnson from his goalbound shot.

Hitchin did get the perfect boost just before the interval when Callum Donnelly fired in the best cross of the half from the right byline. It went through to Lucas Kirkpatrick who stooped to head the ball home at the far post.

HALF TIME Hitchin Town 1 Biggleswade Town 0

Straight after the break, Donnelly was provider again setting up Burns for an effort he scooped over the bar. However the Hitchin number 10 soon made amends as the lead was doubled on 48 minutes. A low Smith cross from the right took a big deflection off a Biggleswade defender and skied up to the back post where Burns converted.

Josh Bickerstaff and Callum Donnelly both had half chances to extend the lead but Biggleswade were not out of the game yet. They were nearly gifted a goal when Lewis Rolfe with his back to goal allowed Hoeness to dispossess him. The forward advanced with the ball and his shot beat Johnson but rebounded back into play from the upright.

Biggleswade did get a foothold on the game after 65 minutes though. Key’s shot from the edge of the area was only parried by Johnson. Hoeness claimed possession but before he could shoot, he was brought down by the Canary keeper for a penalty. Hall calmly put the spot kick away for 2-1. 

The Waders brought on Effiong and Patrick to search out the equaliser but the attacking ploy appeared to backfire on 70 minutes when Hitchin restored the two goal margin. A ball swung in from the right was well controlled by Burns with his first touch before he clinically scored with his second.

The two sides continued to trade attacks as Brett Donnelly inches from converting another Smith cross while Daniel came close again with a shot that whistled over the bar.

On 84 minutes, the Waders did reduce the deficit again as Burnett turned the ball home following a scramble in the Hitchin area, when it looked like Johnson might be able to claim the effort.

It was now “backs to the wall” stuff from Hitchin as they kept out an effort from Gavin Hoyte. However they did enough to hang on for the remaining minutes and book a visit to Burgess Hill or Chalfont St Peter in the next round.

FINAL SCORE - Hitchin Town 3 Biggleswade Town 2 

Hitchin Town - Johnson, Wright, Walster, Bickerstaff, Webb, Rolfe, Smith, Callum Donnelly, Brett Donnelly, Burns, Kirkpatrick; subs - Lench, Brooks, Spence, King, Clarke
Biggleswade Town - Brown, Lewis, Perry, Key, Short, Hoyte, Daniel, Hall, Lucan, Burnett, Hoeness; subs - Norman, Effiong (for Key), Patrick (for Lucan)

Hitchin Town - Kirkpatrick (43), Burns (48, 70)
Biggleswade Town - Hall (65 pen), Burnett (84)

Yellow cards
Hitchin Town - Johnson, Rolfe
Biggleswade Town - Lewis, Perry

Attendance - 201


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