Hitchin Town did enough to progress to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup but not without being given a real fright by their lower ranked Hertfordshire neighbours, Welwyn Garden City.

Dernell Wynter had fired the Citizens into a half-time lead and it needed strikes from Brad Bell and Daniel Idiakhoa, the latter coming 16 minutes from time, to send the hosts through.

WGC boss Marc Weatherstone was pleased though with his squad's very creditable show at Top Field, especially with the execution of the plan devised to contain the Canaries.

He said: "We had a plan and most in the team carried it out well. In the end, we just couldn’t contain Hitchin, but we had good chances in either half, to have done even better."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Welwyn's Josh Steele and Yasin Boodhoo keep tabs on Finley Wilkinson. Picture: PETER ELSEWelwyn's Josh Steele and Yasin Boodhoo keep tabs on Finley Wilkinson. Picture: PETER ELSE (Image: Peter Else)

The plan certainly worked in the first period which saw many among the crowd of 540 becoming increasingly restless and vocal about their team.

Wynter's goal was his fifth in sixth games this season and the strike on 26 minutes was a real peach.

His first shot was blocked but the ball was cleverly recycled by skipper James Mulley who found him again, and this time he struck a great effort beyond Hitchin keeper Charlie Horlock into the far corner.

It was the lively Wynter who had created the first WGC chance of the tie, when he got down the right, but his cross was too far in front of Henry Jones and Brad Wadkins.

Hitchin responded with the dangerous Idiakhoa slipping past several WGC challenges, Charlie Crowley intervened with a sharp save.

A poor clearance from James Kaloczi allowed Hitchin’s Kavan Cotter a sight of goal but this one was straight at Crowley.

The Wynter goal naturally spurred WGC on and three minutes after taking the lead, they carved out a great chance for a second.

Kaloczi won a vital challenge to find Wadkins who in turn put teenage frontman Jones clean through.

The young forward put his effort past Horlock but beyond the far post as well.

The half closed with a further chance each.

Wadkins won a strong header to put Wynter in again, Horlock saving at his near post, while Cotter fired well over at the other end.

Hitchin must have had a half-time roasting from their management as they came out in far more fluent form.

And they drew level just before the hour.

Yasin Boodhoo had a clearance blocked and Hitchin latched onto the rebound, Finley Wilkinson crossing low for Bell to turn home.

Moments after replacing Wadkins, Bailey Stevenson was put clean through by a slick Wynter ball.

He squandered the glorious chance to restore the lead by putting his effort wide.

It proved to be a miss rued by the Citizens, with Hitchin getting the winner shortly after.

This time it was Idiakhoa who collected in midfield, switched with Wilkinson out left and took the return to crash it wide of Crowley to put the Southern League Premier Division Central side in front.

Welwyn's best chance to earn a reply came from an Ethan Kessel free-kick that deflected over the top, removing their chances of being in Monday's draw.


Hitchin Town: Horlock, Bell, Eadie, Syme, C.Jones, Tearle, Freitas-Gouveia, Gleeson, Idiakhoa, Cotter, Wilkinson.

Subs: Devine, Mollison, Galliford, Georgiou, Emovon, Barker, Cope-Chase.

Goals: Bell 58, Idiakhoa 74


WGC: Crowley, Z.Brown, Steele, Boodhoo, Harris, Mulley (Guerfi 77), Kaloczi, Bryant (Kessel 77), H.Jones, Wadkins (Stevenson 65), Wynter.

Subs (not used): Green, Pollock, F.Brown, Weatherstone.

Goal: Wynter 26