Hitchin Town 3 Potters Bar Town 2


Herts Senior Cup 2022-23

Top Field68 Fishponds Rd, Hitchin SG5 1NU, UK

Hitchin Town
Potters Bar Town
3 - 2
Final Score


The Canaries were seemingly cruising to victory in this Hertfordshire Senior second round cup-tie, with less than a quarter of an hour to go, when the Scholars pulled two back and ensured a hectic finish. Hitchin prevailed but it was close and we saw some fine goals, with Diogo Freitas Gouveia scoring the opener, which will be viewed as the goal of the season by many.

Toby Syme returned to the team and there was a start for Jack Snelus. Mild weather and a lovingly prepared pitch made for a good game, and so it was, and graced by a special contingent of Norwegians, who made the trip and gained much admiration for their sportsmanship. Why was Potters Bar singled out for Scandinavian support? Well, I was reliably informed that they wanted to adopt an English team with the name Bar in it, as they like a drink or three. Just think, Barwell may well have benefited by such a criterion.

The Norwegians were all kitted out in replica shirts and were vociferous throughout and kept the bar staff very busy. I understand that Potters Bar FC are going to lay on a reception for the contingent and good for them. They had much to shout about in the closing stages, just when Hitchin were seeming to complete formalities with a three goal margin for the first time this season.

Even though two goals were conceded, this was still a good performance from Hitchin overall. Potters Bar Town play in the Isthmian Premier division and are in top position and may well have been pre-match favourites to progress in this competition. But from the start Hitchin looked to attack and there were good things from Ciaren Jones and Steve Cawley. In one move Diogo Freitas Gouveia sent in a cross and Jones’ glancing header was a good effort, if wide.

Bradley Kauzeni essayed a long throw and receiving a partially cleared ball he tried a shot. A ‘patent’ corner for Hitchin saw Cawley blocked from progress, and this led to a quick counter, which led to an attack and a corner for the Scholars. Adam Martin defended a cross from Gouveia and then Dasilva won a corner that saw Martin again defend competently. Bell blasted optimistically, his shot clearing the bar and a hooked cross from Titchmarsh saw held by Horlock.

Potters Bar were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area that led to skipper Monville shooting over. Cawley and Dasilva, both having good touches won a corner, which Gouveia sent in for Jones to try a header but Collins held it comfortably. Two more corners came for Hitchin who were beginning to exploit gaps, but the visitors’ defence held firm.

Kauzeni’s mixture of a cross and shot was held, and Snelus had a chance but stumbled at a vital moment. Another Hitchin corner saw Bell hit wide. It was absorbing stuff and the better chances fell to Hitchin whose play was positive and creative, but there was still no goal to celebrate. Potters Bar were perhaps just a little subdued and seemed generally satisfied that they had not conceded in this first period.

The second half was barely two minutes old when Diogo Freitas Gouveia, whose fine individual goal turned out to be the winner against Stratford Town, scored what in football parlance is known as a ‘worldy’. It was the sort of goal that elicits spontaneous applause from all. It was hit from an appreciable distance and found the top corner. It was similar to Jack Morrell’s celebrated strike at Barwell and just as memorable.

It inspired Hitchin to further effort and on the fiftieth minute they were awarded a penalty which was splendidly converted by Steve Cawley. At last we could witness a two goal lead and a chance to keep play at a comfortable level. Mind you, they needed Lewis Barker’s defensive header that denied a strike before Jack Snelus had a pop and the ball struck the side-netting.

Snelus had a major part in Hitchin’s third goal, which came after a lofty period of dominance, and largely owing to this assistance, Ashley Hay made it 3-0 to score his second goal in two games. Of course there were comments suggesting that this kind of play would be doubly welcome in a league game, and Diogo was denied a chance to make it 4-0 after a fine save from Collins.

To their credit, the visitors came storming back and Miles Mitchell-Nelson made it 3-1 after seventy-eight minutes with a well-taken goal which got the vociferous Norwegians going as well as the regular support, and the game took on a different aspect, with Hitchin going from comfort to anxiety in defence.

It was exciting stuff and in a pincer movement the Scholars hit the bar with a fine strike and the rebound was emphatically converted by Noel-Williams to make it 3-2 with just over ten minutes to play. Horlock was a minute late with his injury, and it was clear that time would be added on. Potters Bar won a free kick centrally just beyond the ‘D’ and our set piece nerves were recalled. The intended strike ricocheted off the defensive wall but Kamara’s hooked shot was only just over the bar. Surely this will not go to penalties was a thought many had, ready to complain about the loss of a three goal advantage – but this is cup-tie football, do or die stuff as it is.

Georgiou and Barker made important interventions but the Scholars pushed for the possible equaliser, which did not come, as the Hitchin defence did not yield under pressure. It had been an exciting game, with five goals and a grandstand finish, and Hitchin will face either Hadley or Stevenage in the next round, at Top Field.

It is back to League action on Tuesday, when the team travels to Nuneaton and indeed we hope that we arrive back in Hitchin much earlier than we did after the match at Stratford, where M1 roadworks and closures prevented the coach’s arrival at Hitchin until three am. I kid you not.

Today’s game was fine preparation since it displayed some attacking nous and some sterling defence under pressure. It seemed to me that a number of players have had their confidence boosted and a victory over the Isthmian Premier leaders is not to be sniffed at.

I make no apology in finishing by referring again to the magnificent Norwegian contingent who sang heartily in the bar and even smiled when I playfully said ‘Your boys took a hell of a beating’, a reference to that exuberant Norwegian commentator who exulted over his country’s victory over England. It was not a hell of a beating, but poetic licence was gracefully accepted and I know that Potters Bar are proud and grateful to have such a following.

We wish our Hertfordshire neighbours all the very best for their promotion push and , of course, we Canary supporters hope that this unprecedented notching up of three goals in a game will not be a singular event in our forthcoming fixtures.

Charlie Horlock, captain, Bradley Bell, mentioned in despatches again, (Finley Wilkinson), Toby Syme, Stan Georgiou, Lewis Barker, Ciaren Jones, Diogo Freitas Gouveia, man of the match, GOAL, 47 MINUTES, cautioned, Rio Dasilva, Ashley Hay, GOAL, 63 MINUTES, (Kye Tearle), Steve Cawley, PENALTY GOAL, 50 MINUTES, (Malaki Black), Jack Snelus. Substitutes not used- Steve Gleeson, Johnny Allotey.

Ted Collins, Bradley Kauzeni, (Mohammed Kamara), Calvin Dickson, Adam Martin, Miles Mitchell-Nelson, GOAL 78 MINUTES, Jaques Kpohomouh, Quentin Monville, captain, Budy Apia -Allen, Timothy Olaiya, Dejon Noel- Williams, GOAL, 80 MINUTES, Samuel McRitchie, (Kasim Aidoo, cautioned), Finlay Titchmarsh. Substitutes not used- Adam Kaffel and Daren Hoti.

Referee- Mr L Grimesy, assisted by Mr M Mellor and Mr C Geelan

Attendance 339



Competition Season
Herts Senior Cup 2022-23