|www.yourcounty.co.uk - The Kent Website - Supporting Kentish Football|
|Saturday 28 August 2004||FA Cup
Extra Preliminary Round
|Richard Giles reports from Reachfields|
|Hythe Town||1||Yianni 36|
|Littlehampton Town||1||Backley 81|
Hythe must do it all over again
Hythe Town's players, officials and supporters will be getting out of work early on Tuesday afternoon. They will enjoy a FA Cup Tuesday replay and probably a few drinks on the Sussex coast. Sounds like fun? Well it will be, but it shouldn't of been necessary as Hythe could and should have won this tie 3 or 4-1 with no need for a midweek replay!
Littlehampton started this game slowly, not surprising as their coach breaking down had probably played havoc with their pre-match routine.
Even with a delayed kick-off and the fact they were playing away to a side with an early-season record just as impressive as their own, Hythe never expected the Sussex county side to sit
with a deep defensive line of five with little or no pressure on the Hythe midfield in the opening 30 minutes.
Strangely enough Hythe also were not as enterprising as they could of been in the opening passage of play, even with Mike Yianni getting his chance up-front (due to a serious ankle injury in the work-place for Mark Pollard - estimated recovery 6 weeks) against a slow defensive line that the Hythe coaching team had done their research on.
Hythe finally fired on all cylinders in the last 15 minutes of the first half, and should of taken a
better lead than 1-0 into a much more even second period.
With Hythe missing chances, the visitors inevitably gambled and although the equaliser had an
element of luck about it Hythe only had themselves to blame for the tie going to a replay.
Although it was a slow start, there were chances for both sides in the opening third of the game, with Yianni lobbing his marker inside the visitors box and firing a dangerous cross across goal that just evaded Godden.
Ian Miller, was involved for the visitors on 10 minutes with two half-chances scrambled away by Hythe in quick succession.
Yianni and Clifford were the pick of the Hythe side, and were a constant menace down
the right-hand side throughout.
On 30 minutes Roy Godden pounced on a defensive error to release Yianni one-on-one but wide of the opponents area, his final ball again flashing across goal and just missing Godden at close-range.
Dean Widnall saw an absolute blockbuster shot deflected to safety, after he hit a rebounded Dan
Fisk corner towards the bottom left hand corner.
Hythe were finally warming to the task and Godden went close again with a header going just wide, with Yianni again the supplier.
The break-through came on 36 minutes when a brilliant cross-field ball from defender Dan Porter found Yianni on the edge of the box, the young forward skinning his marker to take on keeper Mickey Phillips who had no chance with a cool finish low inside the right-hand post.
Scott Thomas and Jason Brazier put a case forward that Hythe's left hand flank could also create chances with a well-worked 1-2 movement into the box on 44 minutes with Thomas' final shot being blocked. And Brazier was involved again on the stroke of half-time when he brought down a Dan Fisk clearance on the edge of the box before curling a shot just over the crossbar.
The visitors introduced Mal Price up front just after the restart and the experienced looking forward was involved straight away turning into the box and flashing a shot across goal.
Yianni hit a shot that rose just over after good work in the tackle from Dean Widnall, and Godden would drag a poor shot wide moments later after being sent clear on goal by a Scott
Godden almost made amends a minute later heading a Brazier corner just wide at the back-post.
On 67 minutes Stuart Daffin replaced captain Ian Hayes, who had made his first start of the season after returning from holiday. On 76 minutes Yianni entertained the Reachfields crowd beating two out of the four men in his way of goal before cutting back a pass to Dan Fisk who's goal-bound shot unfortunately hit Yianni himself.
Lee Weston hinted at what was to come for Hythe with two almost identical turn and shoot moments just inside the Hythe box. In between these two chances Mickey Phillips kept his side in the game with a brilliant save from Yianni at the back-post after a Daffin cross had been helped on its way by Godden.
The final ten minutes of the game provided classic FA Cup action with the equaliser a miss-hit cross that somehow lobbed Nick Day, who was looking to collect the ball that Peter Brackley had hit on 81 minutes.
Hythe reacted by bringing on a little and large combination up front with Darren Walmsley and
returning defender Julian Holmes replacing Jason Brazier and Roy Godden.
Hythe were almost out of the cup on 84 minutes when Brackley left Day rooted to the spot with a thunderous strike hitting the joint of the woodwork from all of 30 yards.
And the home side almost stole the win themselves on 87 minutes when Walmsley's reflex shot from a Clifford pull-back dribbled agonisingly wide.
The final passage of play in this bizarre game saw Nick Day make a wonderful save at close-range from Price, and a last ditch clearance by Thomas with Brackley breathing down his neck on the goal-line.
After having a good look at their opponents Hythe will be very disappointed not to progress from Tuesdays night replay against opposition that they should of beaten by 2 or 3 goals, but almost lost to with practically the last kick of the game!!!
Hythe Town: Day, Clifford, Thomas, Widnall, Cox, D Porter, D Fisk, Hayes (captain), Godden, Yianni, Brazier. Subs: Walmsley, Daffin, Holmes - Subs not used - Mills, Holdway(GK)