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A much changed Saints exit League Cup at the Seaside

Wednesday, 03 October 2018 15:53

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CHALLENGE KO CUP

Lowestoft Town       3         St Neots Town       1       

Home striker Kieran Higgs completed a personal hat trick to dump St Neots out of the Southern League Cup after their long midweek trek to Suffolk.    As he prepared his team for their important FA Cup engagement at the weekend Manager Matt Clements understandably opted to rotate his squad with the object of resting key players and giving game time to his fringe players and as a result the line-up looked unbalanced in the first half.   Into the starting line up came Russell Short for his full debut, skipper Luke Knight after suspension and Gary Wharton and Dylan Williams after injury with James Peters, Matt Miles, Nabil Shariff and Claudio Ofosu making way.   This was St Neots first trip to Lowestoft for 46 years in the old Eastern Counties League days, and they may have been surprised to see former player Adam Tann in the home line-up as he left St Neots three seasons ago after 65 appearances for the club.

Lowestoft were quick out of the traps and they almost snatched an early lead when a lengthy snap shot from Henry Pollock surprised Harry Reynolds who was relieved to see the ball clip the crossbar on its way to safety.   Defender Rossi Jarvis up for a set piece then shot wide after finding space in the area and it was newcomer Russell Short who recorded St Neots first attempt on goal after ten minutes, but his shot was blocked.   The over-fussy official booked Tom Wood for an innocuous challenge and then Adam Tann made his presence felt as Reynolds went full length to push away his header from a Conor McKendry corner.   In the first half McKendry on loan from Ipswich Town was a thorn in the side of the St Neots defense who were guilty of giving the wide man far too much space.   However, the first goal came from a difference source when Pollock’s sublime through ball set up Kieran Higgs for the opening goal after 24 minutes.   Higgs then had a shot blocked and McKendry saw his shot deflected for a corner as Lowestoft sought to exploit their possession superiority.   The best St Neots effort of the half came from Dylan Williams who curled his shot narrowly over the bar after neat work by Ben Worman.

There was an early second half setback for St Neots when after 50 minutes a defender missed a clearance and Kieran Higgs was on hand to double the lead for the hosts.   St Neots responded by introducing Nabil Shariff and Claudio Ofosu and this not only added to their attacking options but also seemed to boost their confidence.   Russell Short had a shot blocked whilst at the other end Reynolds clawed a Ben Fowkes shot ono a post.   Home keeper Elvis Putnins then produced the save of the match after 67 minutes to deny Worman and Shariff looking sharp up front had one shot saved and placed a second over the bar.   With St Neots now beginning to dominate possession it was against the run of play after 82 minutes when man of the match Kieran Higgs completed his hat trick from close range following a breakaway home attack.   If St Neots were deflated it did not show and they deservedly finished up the match with a consolation goal from Luke Knight – his first since 7th April.

 

Lowestoft:  Putnins, Curry, Schaar, Pollock, Jarvis, Tann, Fowkes, Pinheiro, Higgs, Ingram, McKendry

Subs:  Wren (for Pinheiro 69 mins), Hedge (for Curry 74 mins), Fletcher (for Higgs 84 mins), Langdale and Overy

Cards:  Pinheiro (Y – 19 mins), Higgs (Y – 39 mins), Pollock (Y – 40 mins), McKendry (Y – 82 mins)

Goals:  Higgs (3)(24, 55 and 82 mins)

 

St Neots:  Reynolds, O’Malley, Herd, Knight, Wood, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Short, Wharton, Williams, Worman

Subs:  Shariff (for Wharton 51 mins), Ofosu (for Short 63 mins), Peters (for Parr 71 mins) and Miles

Cards:  Wood (15 mins), Short (Y – 52 mins)

Goals:  Knight (90 mins)

Referee:  Mark Chalkley (Swaffham)

Attendance:  158

 

John Walker

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