This was a much improved performance by Adam Flint’s squad particularly in the second half but it was all in vain as the Canaries narrowly progressed in the Herts Charity Cup through a penalty after the break.
It was a story of two spot-kicks as Lucas Kirkpatrick converted his whilst a few minutes earlier in the half Jamie Cureton was denied by Michael Johnson’s save from his penalty.
The Blues’ boss again had several players missing, including Lewis Dark, Joe Robinson and Jordan Wescott but included in his line-up triallists defender Tyler Hayes from Braintree, defender Toib Adeyemi from Barking and striker Toyosi Olusanya who has played EFL 2 football at AFC Wimbledon and finished last season at Gosport Borough.
Stortford began promisingly and visiting keeper Johnson just grabbed the ball inside the edge of his box as Olunsanya tried to get on the end of a through pass down the middle in the eight minute.Â Â
However, some sloppy passing by the Blues was again a feature in the first half but there was little difference between the two sides possession wise.
Just after the half-hour, Isaac Galliford tried a shot from distance that Calum Kitscha held at the second attempt and three minutes later a first-timer from Alfie Mason was just wide of the near angle of the Hitchin goal.
The tie opened up at the start of the second half and the introduction of substitute Ryan Charles seemed to make a big difference with Stortford looking very positive.
The visitors were also creating chances with Calum Kitscha making several excellent saves after the break including one in the 48th minute Elliot Bailey and then a superb tip over the bar from the same player soon afterwards.
Then, in the 51st minute, Stortford had the chance to take the lead. Good work by Alfie Mason on the left led to Olusanya bursting into the box and to go down to a challenge from a defender. Jamie Cureton stepped up to take the penalty but his spot-kick was blocked by Johnson and then the striker was ruled to have fouled the keeper when netting the rebound.
Stortford were having the better of the play at this stage with Ryan Charles going close after cutting in from the right and Curetonâ€™s acute angled shot drew a fine save from Johnson at the near upright in the 59th minute.
However, in the 64th minute, after helping to break-up a Blues attack, Macsen Fraser broke through on a solo run from inside his own half and when he stormed into the box he went down as three Stortford defenders converged on him and referee Lee Grimsey awarded a penalty that Lucas Kirkpatrick drilled past Kitscha giving the keeper no chance.
Stortford had the upper hand for the remainder of the match, with Ryan Charles very prominent, and Cureton was close with an effort from the edge of the box but they were unable to take the tie to a penalty shoot-out.
STORTFORD: Calum Kitscha; Johnville Renee; Tyler Hayes; Elliott Ronto; Toib Adeyemi; Sam Robbins; Shabazz Omofe (Ryan Charles 46); Jack Thomas; Jamie Cureton; Toyosi Olusanya (Chi Osadebe 72); Alfie Mason.
Unused substitutes: Freddie Oakman, Max Brassington and Bobby Mason.
HITCHIN TOWN: Michael Johnson; Macsen Fraser; Toby Syme; Matt Spring (Danny Talbot 46); Dan Webb; Lewis Ferrell; Jack Green (Trey Charles 72); Lucas Kirkpatrick; Ezra Forde (Charlie Smith 46); Elliot Bailey; Isaac Galliford.
Unused substitutes: Scott Belgrove and Michael King.