Hitchin Town 1-1 Didcot Town (FA Cup 2Q)
Railwaymen and Canaries to meet again on Tuesday night after entertaining draw
Didcot Town and Hitchin Town will replay their FA Cup 2nd Qualifying round game at the Loop Meadow stadium on Tuesday evening after the two sides played out an entertaining 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon.
The Railwaymen made 2 changes to the side who had drawn 0-0 at Peterborough Sports the previous week with midfielder Callum McNish and forward Aaron Woodley coming into the starting XI in place of Matt Woodley and Ollie Thomas who both dropped down to the subs bench, other good news for Didcot was the return to fitness of forwards George Reid and David Murphy who were both named among the substitutes.
As persistent rain fell on the excellent Top Field playing surface both sides looked to get the ball down and play in an end to end first half. Didcot more than matched their higher leagued opponents in the main and Seth Humphries forced the first half chance of the game but his effort from the edge of the box was well blocked by the Hitchin defence.
Lewis Hayden went into the book early on for a cynical foul as he pulled back Scott Belgrave who had ran beyond the Didcot man and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the free kick and subsequent yellow card. It was a double whammy for Didcot as veteran midfielder Matt Spring chipped in a perfect free kick to the back post where striker Charlie Thake found space in the Didcot box to plant a looping header into the far corner of the net to give the Canaries the lead on 18 minutes.
Humphries was looking the most likely for Didcot with some clever footwork he managed to make space for himself but his snapshot was straight at home goalkeeper Michael Johnson who saved easily.
Didcot didn't have to wait too much longer for their deserved equaliser however when on 35 minutes, Morgan Williams found McNish who jinked his way beyond two challenges and playing a scooped ball to Humphries who in turn delivered into the box, it wasn't dealt with by the Hitchin defence and it fell to Gardner who volleyed home smartly from just inside the box and the scores were level again.
Half Time. Hitchin 1-1 Didcot
if Didcot had edged the first half there was no doubt who looked the more likely in the 2nd half as Hitchin maybe with a word or two still fresh in their ear dominated possession and always looked a threat from any set piece that was almost inevitably beautifully delivered by Spring. Thake went close with another header from a Spring free kick and then Leigh Bedwell had to be at his best not just to save low down but to hold on to the greasy ball from another low Thake shot. Morgan Williams then latched onto Bedwell's long ball forward but his effort from distance went narrowly passed the post as Didcot tried to fight back.
The game sprang to life in the final 10 minutes as both sides tried to win the game not wanting the replay, Hitchin looked the more likely as Bedwell saved from a Spring free kick and then made the save of the game as Thake found space in the box but his stinging low left footed shot was superbly saved by Bedwell low to his left.
Didcot's final chance came moments from time when McNish was fouled on the edge of the box, Morgan Williams took the free kick but Johnson was equal to it parrying it away as the final whistle blew it was a fair result on the day as both teams had to settle for the replay this coming Tuesday at the Loop. 7:45pm kick off.
Full Time. Hitchin 1-1 Didcot
M Williams (M Woodley)
Subs not used