Wed 7th Nov 2018
Herts Senior Challenge Cup - 1st Round
Hitchin Town 2-1 TAFC First team
TAFC goals: Jack Read
OUR BRILLIANT AWAY RUN COMES TO AN END
Our run in this senior county cup ended at the first hurdle with a narrow defeat to Southern League Premier Division outfit Hitchin Town. It brought to an end our glorious away form which saw us win all 8 previous games on our travels, scoring 27 goals and conceding just 5 (3 of which came in one game at Crawley Green).
We played well in the first half and went in at the break a goal ahead courtesy of a fine finish from Jack Read, but we dropped off a bit in the second period as Hitchin stepped up their game, scoring 2 goals in a 5 minute spell just after the hour mark to run out worthy winners.
With both teams having an eye on forthcoming fixtures (Hitchin play Solihull Moors in a televised FA Cup game on Sunday and we have some tough fixtures coming up) it was understandable that we would both make changes for this cup tie, but despite this we still got an entertaining game.
With Sam Joliffe, Luke Dunstan and Kieran Turner all missing for various reasons Mark Riddick was handed the Captain's arm band to become the 4th player to receive this honour this season.
The home side should have taken the lead after only 4 minutes when they carved us open with a fine move to present Tremayne Charles with a sitter but from close range he blasted the ball over. It has to be said that this was the only blot on the wingers performance because he was superb throughout and constant thorn in our side.
Six minutes later Charles tried to rectify his earlier miss but his shot went well over. Following a corner a cross back into the area from Alex Campana picked out Dave O'Connor but he couldn't direct his header on target. The game was evenly balanced but on the half hour mark we put together a fine move which led to a powerful shot from Elliott Goward that was not that far off target.
The home side had another great opportunity in the 37th minute with Charles getting away down the right and pulling the ball back for Scott Belgrove who looked certain to score until up popped Tommy Twelves to hack the ball clear.
That could have proved to be a significant moment in the game as two minutes later we opened the scoring. A lovely dinked ball over the defence from Roy Byron sent Jack Read through and although he was under pressure from a defender he fired a terrific shot that found the narrow gap between the keeper and the post. Despite not always being in the starting line up Jack's knows where the goal is and that was his 6th goal of the season. Score 0-1.
We were putting together some nice moves with new signing Kyle Johnson holding the ball up well and linking up nicely with Elliott Goward on the left and Alex Campana on the right.
Most of the danger from Hitchin still came from Charles and following another fine run he hit the target with a shot that our young keeper Patrick Sinfield collected with ease. Deep into added time at the end of the first half Patrick produced a better save to tip a thumping shot from Danny Talbot (evidently the son of Brian the former Ipswich and Arsenal player) round the post to maintain our slim one goal lead going into the break. HT Score 0-1.
We nearly pressed the self destruct button 30 seconds after the restart when we allowed Michael Cain a free header from a cross into our box which fortunately he obligingly put wide. After that let off we defended well clearing a number of potentially dangerous crosses into our box.
But you cannot relax when playing teams from higher league's and when we gave the ball away cheaply in the 63rd minute they punished us. In acres of space of the right Jack Green, who had come off the bench at half time, whipped a terrific cross over to the far post where inevitably Charles appeared to level the scores. Score 1-1.
Two minutes later we had a great chance to retake the lead when Jack Read's fine pass released Kyle Johnson who lobbed the stranded keeper but the ball bounced agonisingly wide of the empty net. Three minutes after that near miss Hitchin took the lead for the first time with a high quality finish.
A cross came into our area and although we headed it clear we didn't get any distance on it and Scott Belgrove arrowed a shot that ripped into the net giving Patrick Sinfield no chance. It was quite simply a superb goal from the former Luton Town man. Score 2-1.
Charles was testing us with his pacey, tricky runs and he twice forced good saves from Patrick Sinfield. We had not played as well as we did in the first half but we were not about to cave in. Jack Read cracked a great shot that was on target forcing a superb save from home keeper Josh Mollison. Soon afterwards Mark Riddick got his head to a corner but the ball flew over the bar.
The home left back Noah Chesmain smacked a brilliant shot that simply zipped just over the bar. We brought on Ashton Campbell and he nearly added to his tally of 15 goals this season with a shot that hit the foot of the post.
Charles nearly punished for some sloppy defensive play but he shot just wide of the far post. The last action saw sub Robbie Burns who replaced Michael Cain (we wondered if they had anymore famous names in their ranks - okay the actor spells his name differently!) strike a fierce shot that rebounded off Patrick Sinfield. FT Score 2-1.
A good performance against a really good side and although they had some regular First Teamers missing they still play two level above us in the football pyramid.
Hitchin now play Hemel Hempstead who booked their place in the next round the previous night when they also won 2-1 against Colney Heath who interestingly visit us on Saturday for what is always a tough encounter.
Finally we would like to wish Hitchin all the best for their FA Cup tie on Sunday.
HT:1 Josh Mollison 2 Michael King 3 Noah Chesmain 4 Danny Talbot 5 Aaron Gooch 6 Jay Dowie (Capt) 7 Tremayne Charles 8 Kieron McCaffrey 9 Scott Belgrove 10 Michael Cain (12 Robbie Burns 73) 11 Patrick Tshikala (17 Jack Green HT). Subs not used: 14 Charlie Smith 15 Kyle Davison-Gordon 16 Ezra Forde.
TAFC:1 Patrick Sinfield 2 Tommy Twelves 3 Chris Mason 4 Roy Byron 5 David OConnor 6 Chris Crook 7 Alex Campana 8 Mark Riddick (Capt) (15 Scott Henderson 76) 9 Jack Read 10 Kyle Johnson (14 Teddy Paul 81) 11 Elliott Goward (12 Ashton Campbell 72).
HT:Tremayne Charles (63), Scott Belgrove (68)
TAJack Read (39)