THURLOW NUNN YOUTH CHALLENGE CUP
ST NEOTS TOWN U18 0 PETERBOROUGH NORTHERN STAR U18 0
(St Neots won 4-3 on penalties)
Goalkeeper Evan Jeckells was the hero as he saved two penalty kicks in the sudden death shoot-out to propel St Neots U18 side into the next round of the Thurlow Nunn Youth Cup. The evenly contested match had failed to produce a goal and so the penalties option was required to decide the winners and the keeper saved the second and fourth spot kicks to present Shae Humphrey with the opportunity to keep his nerve and fire home the final kick. At one stage, it looked as if St Neots’ third big game in the space of eight days would be a test too far with four of Friday’s Cup winning side injured as they struggled in the early stages to find any real rhythm but in a solid second half they produced the bulk of the goal scoring chances and they thoroughly deserved their victory.
St Neots did have an early chance when Jack Eldridge fired wide but the visitors hit back with Kian Meadows bringing a good save from Jeckells before Harry Catenach squandered a clear opening, firing wide after being set up by Jamie Scott. Finishing seemed to be an issue for both sides as chances continued to sail wide of their target but it was the visiting side that finished the first half the better. After 33 minutes Scott rounded his marker to fire in a low shot from an angle but Jeckells saved well and two minutes later the keeper was again in action fielding a rising shot from Niall Burnage.
After the break, St Neots looked more composed and confident with a couple of substitutes introduced and in midfield Alfie Donkin began to dictate play for the home side. Andre Williams showing plenty of pace on the right twice shot across the face of goal and visiting keeper Trent Stanley got down well to block an effort by Eldridge. St Neots looked well in control as Erhan Nurettin shot narrowly over the bar and substitute Luke Taylor looked to be fouled in the area but the Referee waved away penalty appeals. Stanley saved well from Ben Southwood whilst Owen Bevan and Williams had chances to put St Neots ahead. They almost paid the price for missed chances when Jamie Scott was played clear of the St Neots defence by substitute Jordan Giddings but he shot wildly over the bar. Both sides rang the changes towards the end with their substitutes but the match finished goalless.
The drama of the penalty shoot-out followed with Scott netting for the visitors and Andre Williams levelling. Jeckells then saved from Bradlee Page and then successful conversions followed by Southwood (St Neots) and Catenach (PNS). Stanley then saved Nurettin’s effort to level at 2-2. Ellwood (PNS) and Luke Taylor (St Neots) scored and so it went down to the final two attempts. When Jeckells guessed right to keep out a penalty by his opposite number Shae Humphrey blasted home the tenth penalty to win the game.
St Neots: Jeckells, Chambers, Beavis, Waites, Rudman, Humphrey, Williams. Nurettin, Southwood, Eldridge, Bevan
Subs used: Taylor (L), Taylor (C), Clarke (H), Mason and Donkin
Referee: Mark Newman