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Goals at either end of the match see the young Saints seal County Cup success

Saturday, 06 April 2019 17:39

 

HUNTS FA COUNTY YOUTH CUP FINAL (at Eynesbury Rovers)

ST NEOTS TOWN U18        2     ST IVES TOWN U18       1

St Neots U18 side completed an unprecedented third consecutive treble of a league and County Cup double in the fifteenth year of the Gayton Cup competition, when they defeated St Ives with a dramatic last-minute winning goal.   It was a highly competitive match and St Ives can feel unlucky that they conceded that second goal after being equal to their victors for most of the contest. The only time that St Ives had lifted the trophy was in 2010 when they defeated Huntingdon Town in the final but for St Neots it was their fifth victory in the competition final having twice been runners-up.

In front of a large and enthusiastic crowd St Neots got off to the perfect start with an opening goal after just 33 seconds when Tom Leagas went down the right flank to deliver a cross and ace poacher Joe Rider turned to fire a low shot past the surprised Shay Griffiths.   It was Rider’s thirtieth goal in just 18 matches in a season in which he has made his senior debut for the club. From a Leon Fulianty corner just twelve minutes later a Jacob Joseph snap shot was blocked on the line by a defender but from that point onwards St Ives prospered. Using the flanks well they pushed St Neots back on the defensive and Jordan Locke volleyed just wide after good work by Billy Mobbs. After 18 minutes a speculative lob by Mobbs caught Ash Brewer off his line but the St Neots keeper recovered to claim the ball under his crossbar and shortly afterwards made an important save to deny Zac Hope. The Ives pressure was beginning to build and after 32 minutes they were rewarded when a Mobbs cross caused confusion in the St Neots defence and Thomas Wakley produced an unstoppable shot level the scores. A Mitchell Pillen effort was just too high, but St Neots rallied just before the break when Rider had a shot blocked and Griffiths produced an important save to deny Joseph. In time added, Griffiths was again in significant action blocking a Joseph effort with his legs after good work by Rider.

A first minute shot by Sam Routs after the break indicated St Neots’ intentions. Griffiths had to be at his best to tip a fierce Joseph shot over the bar and much of the play was now towards the St Ives goal. St Ives responded by introducing two substitutes and the game became a more even contest with the respective defences looking solid. After 69 minutes Joseph did get the ball in the net but was ruled fractionally offside and as more substitutions by both sides followed it began to look likely that the outcome would be decided with penalty kicks.

One or two lengthy efforts by each side were comfortably dealt with and just when the inevitable beckoned St Neots’ shocked their opponents with that last-minute goal. An attack down the right saw Tom Leagas produced his second significant cross as Reif Clarke was first to the ball at the far post and his diving header proved to be enough to clinch the trophy. The celebrations by the St Neots team earned Clarke a yellow card for discarding his shirt but ‘it was well worth it’ he said after the final whistle.

The cup and medals were presented by Hunts FA Chairman Maurice Armstrong.

 

St Neots Town:  Brewer, Leagas, Wood, Fulianty, Goodridge, Dunnett, Clarke, Brown, Rider, Routs, Joseph

Subs used:   Cousins, O’Hara, Burberry and Rowland.                                                                                                

Cards: Clarke (Y – 90 mins)

 

St Ives Town:  Griffiths, Locke, Baid, Purse, Young, Pillin, Mobbs, Cawte, Wakley, Garlick, Hope

Subs used:  Gibbs, Darnell, Paine, Frans and Sargent.

Cards: Cawte (Y – 52 mins)

Attendance:   232

Referee:  Cliff Mills                                                                                            

(John Walker)

 

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