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Gallant effort from the Young Saints but AFC Sudbury progress to the final

Tuesday, 07 May 2019 08:26


ST NEOTS TOWN U18        2     AFC SUDBURY U18       4

This end of season Championship play-off really parades what is best in East Anglian area youth football.   Having seen off the Western Division champions Peterborough Sports, St Neots entertained the Southern champions AFC Sudbury  and in a feisty encounter lost in disappointing style.   Having twice comeback in the second half to cut their deficit to a single goal, St Neots suffered the loss of two players sent off in a single controversial incident that sealed their fate.   In front of a large crowd it was a match of changing fortunes and resulted in a disappointing finale to the season – but it must not be forgotten that the home side had already achieved an unprecedented league and County Cup double for the third successive season.

Sudbury looked confident and controlled in the first twenty minutes stroking the ball around playing patient possession football happy to wait for an appropriate opening.   In this opening phase both sides managed one significant shot on target – Merkel Cousins seeing the home sides’ chance deflected wide and Sudbury’s Ben Hammett firing over the bar before setting up Baris Altintop to bring a full length save from Ashley Brewer.   The initial breakthrough came after 26 minutes when Oliver Gravett cut in from the right to see his narrow-angled shot deflected beyond the dive of Brewer.   St Neots won a series of free kicks, but Jacob Joseph sent his high over the bar and Jake Wood saw his effort well saved by Samuel Wright.   At the other end Brewer kept his side in the game with an excellent save to deny Isaac Skubich but after42 minutes he was beaten by a low shot from Liam Bennett after some neat play by Thomas Maycock.   After a joe Rider shot had been blocked St Neots went to the break two goals behind.

They came out very positively after the break and substitute Reif Clarke freed by Joseph saw his net bound effort deflected for a corner, and a Nehemiah Goodridge header was well saved from a Clarke corner.   Their reward came after 56 minutes when another Clarke corner was volleyed in at the far post by Owen Dunnett - his first goal of the season!   Ten minutes later Sudbury reinstated their two-goal advantage when Liam Fulianty pulled down Isaac Skubich earning himself a caution, and the visiting player stroked home from the penalty spot.  However, this seemed to spur the home side and after 77 minutes Reif Clarke cut in from the left to score from a narrow angle to make the score 3-2.   Four minutes later it all went wrong as an Assistant Referee signalled a dubious free kick upsetting the home side and substitute Bradley Brown was dismissed for foul language at the decision and he was followed into an early bath by skipper Leon Fulianty who picked up a second caution for dissent (applauding the decision)   In the final eight minutes Adam Hanson hit the post for the visitors and Fred King rounded off the scoring taking full advantage of the depleted home defence.


St Neots:  Brewer, Olive, Wood, Fulianty, Goodridge, Dunnett, Joseph, O’Hara, Rider, Routs, Cousins                                                                                                                                              

Subs used:   Brown, Clarke, Leagas and Rowland.   

 Goals: Dunnett (56 mins),  Cousins (77 mins)                                                                                 

Referee:  Ryan Middleton                                                                                            

(John Walker)

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