FIXTURES
Saturday 3 November away to Tamworth league kick off 3.00pm. Coach leaves 10.30am.
Wednesday 7 November home to Tring Athletic Herts Senior Cup kick off 7.45pm.

Ticket prices have been reduced for the Tring game – £6 for adults and £4 for concessions with a further £1 discount available online.

PLAYER NEWS

  • Jay Dowie will miss the games with Tamworth and Solihull Moors through suspension but can play in the Herts Senior Cup game against Tring.
  • Scott Belgrove will face a fitness test before the match tomorrow after coming off last week with an injured toe.
  • Robbie Burns has started light training and it is hopeful he will make some kind of appearance against Tring.

FA CUP UPDATE / REFLECTIONS
It is hard to believe that we have already sold over 2,000 tickets for the Solihull game–who says the FA Cup does not matter anymore! It is pleasing how the online ticketing operation coped with the high demand and we thank Kaizen Ticketing Solutions for dealing so promptly with certain glitches that occurred.

I have been looking back at a scrapbook I created to cover the FA Cup runs in 1994/95 and 1995/96 and it was interesting to see how things have changed. The home games with Hereford, Bristol Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers were all ticket but all those tickets had to be sold for cash with no internet option available then.

I remember having to take holiday from work to be at the ground lunchtimes as well as evenings. There were also meetings with the police, local authorities, BBC and other media outlets.

In my scrapbook were letters from the police and council outlining what capacity was allowed and all safety measures required. There was a letter from the BBC Match of the Day team outlining where cameras would be placed to cover the Wycombe game and confirming Clive Tyldesley as commentator and a particularly happy memory was a copy of a letter from the FA confirming ourselves and Wycombe would receive a fee of £12,000 each for our appearance on Match of the Day–a lot of money in 1994!

I was also reminded just how much the national media were involved in covering our FA Cup runs and I even had an Australian paper with a Bristol Rovers report. There were many happy memories looking through the scrapbook and it reminded me just what an effect the FA Cup can have on non-league clubs.

Back to the present and this week has probably been the lull before the storm and it will be next week when things go crazy. We had our management meeting on Monday when we decided on prices and how tickets would be sold. We were all determined not to cash in on the game and kept adult and concession prices unchanged including the £1 online discount. We felt we needed to have a charge for all other  categories but at £4 with a £1 discount available we felt this was a fair price.

Other arrangements for the game were fully discussed and we now felt that we were well prepared. There have been ongoing talks with the police, Solihull Moora FC and local authorities while security, catering and toilet facilities have figured prominently in the planning. The BBC have been in touch regarding the TV coverage and media requests have begun to be received.

I remain just as excited now as I did 23 years ago and I am so proud that Hitchin Town FC are once again centre stage–long may it continue.

MANAGER’S NOTES
Mark Burke looks back to the Hayes and Yeading game and previews Tamworth and Tring Athletic.

HAYES AND YEADING
I felt that after all the euphoria that followed our win at Leatherhead and the fact that it had been so energy sapping for the players it was necessary to rest some players for this game. Certain players had knocks and tightness of muscles and I had to consider their long term fitness and did not want to take risks. In any case the players I brought in were all part of the first team squad and had the opportunity to impress me and stake a claim for a place in the 1st team line up.

Hayes and Yeading proved to be a very good side with some quality players. I think they are likely to be in the play-offs in their league at the end of the season. The game was a tight affair and I think if our disallowed goal had stood this would have given us more confidence and we could have seen the game out with a victory. I did not think we had the rub of the green and Hayes and Yeading edged us out.

TAMWORTH
We again face a team who have recently picked up form with Tamworth very impressive against Gainsborough in the FA Trophy last week. This is not the first time we have faced this situation with opponents being on the up. It will be my job to ensure our players are focussed on the task in hand and not on the FA Cup. It is very important we do not lose touch with the teams above us in the table and we therefore must aim to return from Tamworth with at least a point.

TRING ATHLETIC
We have happy memories of winning the Herts Senior Cup twice in recent seasons and we would like to go all the way again this season. Tring are having a successful season and will be difficult opponents. While the FA Cup provides the glamour the Herts Senior Cup does give us a realistic chance of silverware and we will be taking the game seriously.

It will be good to personally thank the Tring officials and management who so selflessly agreed to the postponement of the original game to help us in our FA Cup run. It really was a great gesture and contributed to the eventual win against Leatherhead.

MATT SPRING
Matt Spring approached me to ask permission to help out at Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday night as he had received an SOS from his old club. I was happy to let him help run the side on Tuesday evening where they drew one all with Slough Town.

Springy was then approached by Joe Deeney the new Hemel Hempstead manager asking him to join the management team. Matt is considering the offer, however he is committed to Hitchin for the immediate future and will still be with us for the next couple of weeks at the very least whilst he weighs up his options.

HITCHIN TOWN UNDER 19’S
The under 19’s did not play this week due to half term. On Wednesday 7 November they travel to Aveley for a league cup game.

HITCHIN TOWN LADIES FC
Manager Callum Ellis wrote this report on the ladies win last Sunday.

Hitchin Town Ladies v Welwyn Pegasus Azures

Firstly I would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to Hitchin Town FC who have not only got through to the First Round of The FA Cup but also well done on hosting the draw at the Canary Club! We returned to the Beds and Herts Women’s League Division Two looking to hopefully extend our lead at the top of the table. The match was against newly promoted Welwyn Pegasus Azures and I felt, if they were anything like Division One’s Welwyn Pegasus this surely was going to be a great game!

Welwyn got the game underway and went on the attack but it was calmly dealt with by the Hitchin defence. The first chance of the game fell to Franklin who was beautifully played through but shot just over the bar. Shortly Hitchin were attacking again and it was Chaffey who played Franklin through but the flag was up for offside. It was a great start by Hitchin and a goal was coming! Franklin again set off on a darting run from the wing but her shot trickled past the far post.

Then Hitchin scored! Watson fired a ball over the back four and sent Gash one on one with the keeper and she calmly slotted into the bottom left corner.

Hitchin were soon back on the attack with Winter, who was playing her first game back from injury, linking up with Franklin who forced a corner. Chaffey sent the ball into the box but the Welwyn keeper jumped on the loose ball. Watson then led a Hitchin attack but her effort cannoned over the bar! A second goal was coming.

The ball was picked up by Piper who started a charge towards the Welwyn goal. She knocked it over to Gash who linked up with Franklin but the shot went over the bar. Hitchin were having a great game and confidence was growing. Hitchin broke through the midfield via Smith who sent Gash on a one v one but the keeper stood firm and collected the ball.

Hitchin attacked again through Cain-Murnane as she weaved in and out she sent it to Smith who ran into the box and doubled Hitchin’s lead. Hitchin again were on the attack straight after play was restarted and it was Chaffey playing in a holding role who picked out Franklin’s run down the right who in turn founds Gash who knocked it forward to Smith to grab her second of the game.

Welwyn sent a ball into the box but we did not clear our lines and it was hit from 16 yards and bounced in from the underside of the cross bar making it 3-1 to Hitchin. Conceding the goal did not stop Hitchin attacking again, this time Gash again one on one with the keeper. She toe poked it past the keeper but two defenders reached the line to clear it for a Hitchin corner. Welwyn pushed Hitchin in injury time and make Hitchin concede a corner in the dying moments of the first half. Welwyn sent the ball in to the box but Hitchin were unable to clear and a goal was slotted in by the Welwyn defender.

Half time and Welwyn had done well to get back into the game against a strong Hitchin side.

Hitchin restarted the game and it was Gash again running down the right hand side cutting in but finding the side netting of the Welwyn goal. Hitchin were on the break again when Gash sent in Smith. Her first shot was saved but her second smashed against the crossbar!

Within the hour mark it was an equal playing field and it was end to end with each team fighting for goals. Each Welwyn attack was stopped by Hawkridge down the left or Piper / Fursland in the middle. Hawkridge who had kept Welwyn quite on the left made way for Lai making her second appearance for Hitchin. Chaffey linked up with Gash who was somewhat rugby tackled by the keeper and won a penalty for Hitchin. Captain Chaffey stepped up and fired it home into the net! 4-2 to Hitchin!

Within the closing stages Welwyn started to slow down but Hitchin were hunting and making use of the tired legs of Welwyn. Franklin stormed down the right hand side and squared the ball to oncoming  striker Gash who smashed the ball into the bottom right corner to extend the lead.

The referee blew for full time and it was our Sponsor Soul Shack who picked out Louise Gash as player of the game!

A hard fought game with each player putting in 110% from start to finish. Each player out on the pitch today showed passion and commitment to the Hitchin crest they take pride in wearing. Today the entire team pushed for 3 points and wanted to win!

We go again on Sunday 4th November 2018 against Watton Ladies at Offley Recreation Centre, Kings Walden Road, Hitchin for a 14:00 kick off.