Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Saints progress in League Cup thanks to a late winner from an unlikely source

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 14:11

SOUTHERN LEAGUE LEAGUE CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND

Kempston Rovers       0            St Neots Town        1         

A dramatic injury time winning goal saw St Neots through to the next round of the League Cup in their delayed tie at Kempston.   Against expectation an understrength St Neots side progressed despite having to play with three of their usual back four injured.   By complete coincidence the late winner came from Aaron Smith – the only survivor of that back four.   It was a much-changed St Neots side that took the field but the adaptability of players to perform in other than normal roles has got to be a bonus for Manager Marc Abbott.   With Stevan Shaw and Mason Rhiney already on the injury list they were joined by experienced defenders Sam Goode and Jake Kerins and reshuffling his side with Panny Boxer at full back, the Manager brought in Jake Noble and Sam Gomersall as well as replacing Tim N’Kala with Prince Mutswunguma.   The two sides had met at Kempston three weeks earlier in a league match that had resulted in St Neots only three points haul so far this season.

There was a very bright start to the match with both sides playing positive attacking football.   St Neots created three openings in the first five minutes with the reinstated Prince Mutswunguma going clear of the defence  but seeing two early goal bound shots both blocked – first by keeper Carl Knox and then by defender Jordan Wright.   Three minutes later Joe Sutton sprinted past three home players only to see Wright block again.   Kempston replied swiftly winning two corners in succession both pushed away by under pressure visiting goalkeeper James Philp.   The game then settled with the home side having the edge for a period.   Back in defence Mutswunguma gave the ball away and Wright had a low effort well saved by Philp and a free kick in a good position twenty yards from goal was skied over the bar by Finlay Brennan.    The match was developing into a very tight contest with neither side able to break through despite some promising openings and in his unfamiliar full back role Penny Boxer advanced to set up Sam Bennett whose effort was narrowly over the bar.   Sam Gomersal making only his second league start was looking lively in attack and he shot just wide after clever work by Mutswunguma and then he lifted a cross onto the roof of the net with home keeper Knox out of position.   As half time arrived the final effort was also from Gomersal after good unselfish work by Sutton but once again Knox saved well.

The second half saw St Neots in control as they grew in confidence.   Gomersal saw an early effort blocked by a defender and Mutswunguma was again tormenting the home defence to set up Sutton whose first effort was blocked by the legs of Knox and his follow-up from a narrow angle flew across the face of goal.   Kempston looked dangerous on the break and from a corner by Brennan a towering header from Robbie Goodman brought the save of the match from Philp.   Sutton was then brought down on the edge of the box, but Alfie Connor’s free kick was off target and wasted.   Jake Noble was booked for a midfield foul after the Referee had played an excellent advantage for the home side that came to nothing but the St Neots player had to leave the field with an injury shortly afterwards with Jacob Joseph replacing him and Gomersal reverting to the vacant defensive position.   Mutswunguma then saw a shot deflected over the bar and in the final twenty minutes St Neots enjoyed the bulk of the attacking play but failed to break down the stubborn home defence.   As the ninety minutes drew to a close both sides sent on substitutes in preparation for the seemingly inevitable penalty shoot-out but two minutes into added time a St Neots attack on the right broke down and the ball ran loose to Aaron Smith whose first ever senior goal earned his side passage through to the next round and a visit to Yaxley.

St Neots:  Philp, Boxer, Smith, Connor, Noble, Walker, Gomersal, Watkins, Mutswunguma, Bennett, Sutton

Subs:  Joseph (for Noble 67 mins), N’Kala (for Mutswunguma 83 mins), Quigley (for Bennett 90+3 mins), Olive and Bartlett.

Cards:  Noble (Y – 63 mins)

Goals:  Smith (90+2 mins)

 

Kempston:  Knox, Goodman, Brennan, Wright, Powell, Sage, Boland, McGrath, Stratton, Dahie, Massaro

Subs:  Hunt (for McGrath 46 mins), Beldon (For Dahie 90+3 mins), Shortt, Andrews and Hudson.

Cards:  Powell (Y – 48 mins), Massaro (Y – 72 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Sean Barry (Northampton)

Attendance:       89

 

John Walker

Read 420 times