Hitchin Town 0 Solihull Moors 2
Moors Battle Through Tough Cup Match (writes John Clothier )
Summer arrived back out of the blue at Top Field as Hitchin Town from the Southern League Premier Central took on Moors for a place in tomorrow’s draw for the second round of the Emirates FA Cup. Despite being two steps below Solihull in the Non-league pyramid, the “Canaries”, roared on by 3000 home fans, had everything to play for. This would not be a walk in the park!
Tim Flowers had a full squad from which to choose apart from Jermaine Hylton still feeling the effects of a rash tackle in the home league match against Halifax.
It was a tentative start from both sides. Adi Yussuf fouled Alex Anderson as he charged down the left flank; Ryan Boot made a good take as the Canaries had their first sight of goal; Jamey Osborne had Moors first shot after 8 minutes having created space for a typical 20 yarder, but it just cleared the bar. It was Osborne again on 10 minutes putting Kwame Thomas away but his cross was cleared for a corner.
Noah Chesmain, on loan from Colchester, put through a dangerous cross on the quarter hour mark but Green’s header was wide. Osborne was almost injured as he stretched to save a corner.
Moors were starting to settle but were not making much impression in the final third; Darren Carter’s shot from Tyrone William’s free kick was blocked, whilst Yussuf cleared the bar as he ran onto Kyle Storer’s dink over the Hitchin defence.
Isaac Galliford was causing problems as he ran straight at the Solihull defence going close on 20 minutes before then putting Ezra Forde through but he mis timed the shot. A goal mouth melee on the half hour was a chance for the hosts to take the lead but nobody could get a shot in as Moors defence eventually cleared the danger. Galliford tried a speculative effort from the edge of the box but it was wide.
Danny Wright had a chance seven minutes before the interval when Osborne hit a low corner back to the edge of the box but the shot was cleared off the line. Kwame Thomas followed up shooting from an acute angle just outside the six-yard box but the HItchin shot stopper, Michael Johnson did well to intercept.
Jamie Reckord was finding space on the left flank as the referee ‘s whistle beckoned; A deceptive shot from the outside of his boot was well held by Johnson and then his free kick was met by the incoming Liam Daly but cleared by the Canaries defence. Osborne was fouled by Green but although Wright got on the end of the free kick, Johnson was equal to it.
Neither side could grumble at it being goal less at half time.
Ryan Boot was the first of the keepers in action as play resumed, cutting out a dangerous cross whilst Moors first real foray in the Hitchin box came on 53 minutes when Danny Wright found Yussuf in the box but the shot lacked power. Jamey Osborne’s long throw from near the corner post resulted in a corner. Boot needed to the quick off his line as Josh Bickerstaff powered forward and his long clearance to Yussuf had just too much momentum for the striker to pounce.
It was really end to end play from both teams. Alex Gudger put Reckord away down the left side but Johnson was ready for the cross. Williams found Thomas free on the other flank but the cross landed on the roof of the net.
With twenty minutes remaining, Manager Flowers made his first substitution as George Carline was on for Thomas and within a minute Moors were awarded a penalty as Osborne was clattered as he powered into the box. Yussuf, coolly sent Johnson the wrong way - Moors were ahead! 0 – 1
Another substitution followed with Luke Maxwell replacing Darren Carter but this time it was Hitchin who broke away although Boot had no problem with Chesmain’s low drive. Carline’s long throw landed at Osborne’s feet but the shot was wide.
On 79 minutes Maxwell’s corner kick was headed back across the box to the lurking Wright who, at the second attempt, smashed it in to corner of the net to double the Solihull lead. 0 – 2.
To their credit, Hitchin searched for a reply as Moors did their best to retain possession. There was a chance on 89 minutes when Daly was adjudged to have hand balled. Boot parried the free kick and the ensuing scramble was eventually cleared.
Four added minutes did nothing to change the final outcome and for the second time only, Moors go into the draw for the second round which will be televised tomorrow night on BBC2 at 7 pm. Our ball number is 31
Hitchin Town really played their part in this hard fought cup tie and our thanks go to the club and their supporters for making it an afternoon to remember
Supporters Man of the Match Jamey Osborne
Boot, Williams, Reckord, Storer ©, Daly, Gudger, Osborne (Murphy), Carter (Maxwell), Yussuf, Thomas (Carline), Wright. Subs Not used; Flowers, O’Keeffe
Attendance 3,148 (199 Moors)
Report from John Clothier Photos Courtesy of Tom King