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Burgess Hill Town 0 Hitchin Town 3

Saturday, November 26 2016

Hitchin progressed into the FA Trophy First Round Proper after coming away from the Green Elephants Stadium with a 3-0 win over the Hillians. While last seasonís win over the same opposition at Top Field was a very tight game, on this occasion the Canaries took a two goal and one man advantage into the interval. Despite a spirited second half performance by the hosts, a quality third goal near the end ensured a comfortable win.

Michael Johnson, having overcome the injury that saw him miss two matches, returned in goal for Liam Gooch while Kane Smith replaced Matt Lench and Liam Brooks replaced Callum Donnelly.†

Burgess Hill came closest to breaking the deadlock early on as Okuate and Toure headed over from corners.†

Hitchinís best early chance came with a free kick outside the area. Ben Walster struck it with force but found the defender in the wall instead! There was a delay while he required treatment after the impact.†

Hitchin did get the decisive breakthrough on 14 minutes. Robbie Burns got on the end of a Lucas Kirkpatrick corner and his effort took a deflection from Will Miles to go past Josh James in the Burgess Hill goal.

Milesí game went from bad to worse soon afterwards. Burns had an effort pushed aside by James, Brooks won the race for the loose ball and his effort was cleared off the line before a third attempt was cleared off the line but by the hand by the tumbling Miles.†

The referee had two easy decisions - a penalty for Hitchin and a straight red for Miles. Although Lewis Rolfe seemed keen to take the spot kick, the bench made clear that they expected Walster to do so. Their decision was vindicated as the full back made no mistake from the spot to double the lead.

Penalty converted

Walster had another effort on goal after being set up by Brett Donnelly but from free play he fired high and wide. Some of Burgess Hillís challenges at this stage were robust and experienced midfielder Dean Cox was yellow carded.

Ayunga and Harding had half chances for Burgess Hill before the break but as the whistle went for half time Hitchin looked to be in control.

HALF TIME - Burgess Hill Town 0 Hitchin Town 2

A number of fans recalled the two goal lead at Faversham in the FA Cup and, after the break, Burgess Hillís ten men did try to get back into the match with Ayunga taking on the defence but firing wide.†

However at the other end, the Canaries couldíve wrapped it up as a Kirkpatrick effort came back out to Brett Donnelly well-placed in front of goal. However he got under his shot and skied over from close in.

Smith came close with a shot after the ball had broken free from a Hitchin corner, while Will Wright also had a header cleared off the line before he was replaced by Lench. The substitute did well to win a corner after getting on the end of a great ball by Rolfe but the setpiece couldnít provide a decisive third goal.

That decisive goal did come on 86 minutes through a moment of magic from Callum Donnelly, who had come on for Brooks. From some 20 yards out on the left, he unleashed a shot that curled over James to conclude the scoring.

Burgess Hill continued to look for what would have by then been just a consolation goal. Cox forced Johnson into a save and also shot wide, while substitute Tyrell Richardson-Brown also fired over.†

FINAL SCORE - Burgess Hill Town 0 Hitchin Town 3

Hitchin now await the First Round draw tomorrow - at which point the National League teams enter the picture - having made the best progress in the Trophy since 1998-99, when we lost to eventual finalists Forest Green Rovers.

Burgess Hill Town - James, Richmond, Redwood, Pearse, Toure, Miles, Cox, Okwute, Ayunga, Thompson, Harding; subs - Tuck, Bolton, Brivio (for Thompson), Azaiya, Richardson-Brown (for Okwate)†
Hitchin Town - Johnson, Wright, Walster, Bickerstaff, Webb, Rolfe, Smith, Brooks, Brett Donnelly, Burns, Kirkpatrick; subs - Callum Donnelly (for Brooks), Gooch, Lench (for Wright), King (for Brett Donnelly), Sam Barker†

Hitchin Town - Burns (14), Walster (pen, 22), Callum Donnelly (86)

Yellow cards
Burgess Hill Town
- Cox, Harding, Okwute

Red Cards
Burgess Hill Town
- Miles

Attendance - 243

Colin, photo by Peter Else

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