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Gallant Saints slip out of the FA Trophy after epic battle with Stourbridge

Sunday, 12 November 2017 11:14

 

Buildbase FA Trophy – Second Qualifying Round

 

ST NEOTS TOWN        2          STOURBRIDGE       3  

 

Six minutes into the second half of this match a very dubious penalty decision shaped the outcome of the tie and condemned St Neots to only their second defeat in twelve league and FA Trophy ties stretching back to mid-September.   After a drab first half the match came to life after the break with three goals in six minutes and led to a feisty second period in which the fate of the sides could have gone either way.   In the end the visitors from the Premier Division of the Northern League were happy to cling on to their narrow advantage and see out time to earn their place in the next round.   St Neots will rue a couple of missed chances and their inability to make a long spell of second half domination produce the clear openings needed to win the match against opponents that defended well throughout the match.   With Kyron Wiltshire starting his four-match ban, Ryan Horne came back into midfield along with skipper Luke Knight with Scott Sinclair on the injured list.

 

In their first meeting for four years the two sides quickly had the measure of the other with both defenses looking fairly confident and clear chances very few.   Stourbridge created the first two real chances in the opening ten minutes with Kyle Perry heading wide from a Tom Tonks free kick and Perry bringing a full-length fingertip save onto a goalpost by the home keeper.   After 12 minutes Tom Meechan was clumsily bundled over on the edge of the penalty area by Aris Christophorou earning the defender the first of seven yellow cards to be issued by fussy Referee Rob Evans.   Johnny Herd bent his free kick around the defensive wall but only into the side netting.   St Neots tried hard to find an opening through the well-drilled visiting defence but they were hampered by mis-placed passes and over ambitious attempts to get behind the defence.   With the half unable to find any real tempo with too many stoppages – many of them for trivial offences – the visitors just about shaded possession without further testing Mike Emery until five minutes before the break when he had to save full length from Perry.

 

Three goals in six minutes after the restart set the contest alight.  St Neots struck first after just 33 seconds when clever interplay between Meechan and Dion Sembie-Ferris saw the latter latch on to a neat flick between defenders to net with a shot across Matthew Gould in the visiting goal.  However, the lead was short-lived because three minutes later the visitors levelled as a Tonks corner was flicked on at the near post for Leon Broadhurst to net with a low shot.  St Neots had no time to recover because after 51minutes Christophorou was impeded in the penalty area by Liam McDevitt and the Referee pointed to the penalty spot.  Luke Benbow sent Emery the wrong way and the visitors were in front.   St Neots set about repairing the damage and Sembie-Ferris sprinted goal wards to be brought down on the edge of the area by Paul McCone who looked fortunate only to receive a yellow card.  It was nip and tuck as both sides adopted an attacking approach and after 76 minutes another dubious free kick was awarded when Perry – who seemed to spend a lot of time on the ground – went down and Benbow picked out unmarked substitute Josh Green wide on the left and he cut in to beat Emery with a rising shot.   Now St Neots had to go for broke as they sought to recover a two goals deficit and with two substitutes on they adopted a three men-at-the back approach and dominated possession in the final quarter of an hour.   However, Stourbridge filtered back to defend in numbers and a Tom Meechan effort rebounded from the woodwork with Gould beaten, St Neots only consolation was a rare goal by Jack Bradshaw following a Dylan Williams corner after two St Neots efforts had been blocked by visiting defenders in the same attack.   

 

So, now out of three of their four cup competitions this season, St Neots must look to the County Senior Cup competition for silverware.

Claire Howes' Photo Gallery can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/claire_howes/

 

St Neots Town:  Emery, Bradshaw, Herd, Knight, McDevitt, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, O’Malley, Meechan, Horne, Williams (D),

Subs:  Bridges (for Knight 76 mins), Wood (for Horne 80 mins) and Butler

Cards:  Knight (Y – 15), Bradshaw (Y – 27), Herd (Y – 56)

Goals:  Sembie-Ferris (46 mins), Bradshaw (86 mins)

 

 

Stourbridge:  Gould,Christophorou, Westlake, McCone, Pierpoint, Forde, Tonks, Broadhurst, Perry, Benbow, Shearer

Subs:  Green (for Shearer 73 mins), Marsh (for Benbow 83 mins), Duggan (for Perry 86 mins) and Cooke.

Cards:   Christophorou (Y – 12 mins), McCone (Y – 61 mins), Benbow (75 mins), Forde (Y – 90 mins)

Goals:   Broadhurst (48 mins), Benbow (51 mins), Green (76 mins)

 

Attendance: 323

Referee:  Rob Evans (Northampton)

 

John Walker

 

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