Looking ahead to our last league match and the visit of Halesowen Town

UPCOMING MATCH PREVIEW

Saturday offers our supporters not only our final league game of the season but also the final game (at least for the time being) in the Southern League Premier Central Division.    It is fitting perhaps that the visitors are Halesowen Town who are accompanying us in relegation but making their first ever visit to the town   However, this is to be the third meeting of our two sides.   Earlier this season we travelled to Halesowen for our first league meeting and returned with a point and honours even from a 1-1 draw.   Claudio Ofosu was our scorer with one of only three goals he scored for us this season before seeking pastures new.   We had previously featured at the Halesowen ground five and a half seasons ago when we visited for a first round FA Trophy tie which we won 3-1 with goals from Dave Deeney, Jake Woolley and Ed Adjei but the real hero of that tie was goalkeeper Niall Conroy (who played against us for Godmanchester in our recent Huntingdonshire Senior Cup Final) who kept the home forwards at bay.   Along with Bedworth United we are the trio of teams facing relegation to Step Four next season, so this is by way of being a ‘relegation party’.   It is worth noting that our club records show that this will have been only be our second relegation in around 100 years of competitive football – the other being 37 years ago when we were relegated from the UCL Premier Division to Division One.  So, for both of today’s teams the only way is up and competition begins again in just over three months and of course we wish Halesowen the best of fortune in next season’s campaign.  

 

John Walker

 

 

 

Saints earn share of the points with a well earned draw at St Ives

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Ives Town       0        St Neots Town       0 

This was only St Neots third clean sheet in the fifteen games since the mass defection of players, but it afforded them the point they needed to ensure finishing above the two sides below them.   It also gave them the satisfaction of not conceding a league double to their neighbours St Ives Town who needed to win if they were to achieve their best-ever finish in the Premier Division.   In front of a shirt-sleeved Bank Holiday crowd St Neots defended well in a match that had an end-of-season feel to it, and the host side really failed to take advantage of their visitors’ inexperience.   St Neots made just the one change in the side beaten at home 48 hours earlier bringing back specialist defender Leon Fulianty and preferring Prince Mutswunguma to Joe Sutton in attack.   St Ives with several injured players missing looked unbalanced and the nearest they came to beating visiting keeper James Philip was one shot that rebounded from the woodwork.   The result may have boosted St Neots’ confidence ahead of their final match of the season against Halesowen next Saturday with the only incentive for either side being to treat the occasion as a relegation party.

St Ives started well when in the third minute in the first attacking move a long Mark Coulson throw was flicked on and Ollie Snaith attempted an ambitious volley that flew just wide of a post.    After just seven minutes St Neots suffered a severe blow as skipper Matt Miles was injured and forced to leave the field with striker Joe Rider replacing him and Ben Bradley moving back into midfield in a reshuffle.   Robbie Parker then won the ball and picked out Morgan Penfold who beat his marker to curl a shot wide and although the hosts were enjoying superior possession, they created little.   Jacob Joseph claimed St Neots first significant attempt on goal for the visitors after 28 minutes but home keeper Martin Conway saved comfortably and two minutes later St Neots suffered another setback as Bradley sustained a nasty cut above his left eye forcing his side to play four minutes one man short as he received off the pitch treatment.   St Ives then received a potential opening when a long ball forward by Coulson seemed to slow up between Ryan Hughes and James Philip and an eagle-eyed Assistant Referee indicated that the custodian had gathered the ball inches outside his area.  Parker played a short free kick into the path of Andrew Osei-Bonsu and his finish beat the visiting keeper but rebounded from the crossbar to safety.   Just before the break the same St Ives player was denied again when his free header flew wide when he was set up by former Saint Tom Wood.

St Ives made an enforced change after the break with the lively Penfold limping and George Bailey was his replacement.    Wood then shot well wide as the home side upped their attacking efforts, but this seemed to leave gaps in defence and Joe Rider tried an opportunistic chip that was deflected over the bar.   Substitute Bailey then tested Philip and then St Ives conceded a free kick on the edge of the area that came to nothing.  St Neots seemed to grow in confidence as the match drifted into the final quarter of an hour and Bradley dispossessed an opponent and looking up picked out the dangerous Dan Trendall who had tirelessly fought a one-man battle with the home defence.   He broke past the square lying defence and as the keeper narrowed his angle, he chipped the ball goal-wards, only for Owen Wallis to recover to acrobatically scoop the ball off the line, but only as far as Rider whose follow-up effort was gratefully grabbed by the recovering goalkeeper.   In the final five minutes St Neots created two potential match winning openings – both balls out of defence to find Trendall on the right.  On both occasions he was cynically upended by defenders earning first Owen Wallis and then Munashe Sundire yellow cards.    The final action was another Wood shot wide of target and St Neots had deserved their share of the spoils in what will be the final local Saints league clash for at least one season.

St Neots:  Philip, Hood, Fulianty, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Joseph, Rhiney, Trendall, Bradley, Mutswunguma

Subs: Rider (for Miles 7 mins), Sutton (for Mutswunguma 61 mins), Hudson (for Joseph 79 mins) and Clarke.

Cards:  Philip (Y – 39 mins), Bradley (Y – 44 mins), Sutton (Y – 66 mins)

Goals: none

St Ives:  Conway, Sundire, Coulson, Wood, Wallis, Wilson, Penfold, Parker, Osei-Bonsu, Snaith, Seymour-Shove

Subs:  Bailey (for Penfold 46 mins), Newman (for Seymour-Shove 76 mins), Baker (for Snaith 86 mins), Ward and Griffiths.

Cards:Snaith (Y – 64 mins), Wallis (Y – 85 mins), Sundire (Y – 88 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Alex Rayment (Dunstable)  

Attendance:       351

 

John Walker

Relegation confirmed for the Saints as Lynn hit five at the Premier Plus Stadium

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town       0        Kings Lynn Town       5 

This result confirmed St Neots relegation to Step Four next season after seven seasons in the top flight of the Southern League, and furthered King Lynn’s aim of a home semi-final tie in the play-offs.   The visitors were as dominant as the final score suggested and Saints Boss Marc Abbott was quick to heap praise on the winners saying “they are easily the best side we have played since I took over as Manager.   This was a tough lesson for my young side who were unable to cope with the experience and quality of the opposition.   Lynn were exceptional today and judged on this performance, they look likely to progress further through the play offs.  

His opposite number, Ian Culverhouse, was thoughtful, adding “Yes, we played well today and were very happy with the result that gives us a chance of the runners-up spot”. He also said, “but great credit is due to Marc Abbott and Matt Clements (St Neots Managers) for keeping the club going after their trauma of the past two months”.   

Injury means that full back Jordan Norville-Williams’ season is over so there was just one St Neots team change with Jacob Joseph coming in for Leon Fulianty with Prince Mutswunguma moving back into defence.  Lynn always looked comfortable and in control and their slick short passing tactics ensuring that they enjoyed more than two thirds of the possession throughout the match.

The visitors got off to the perfect start with a goal in the first real attack of the match after five minutes.   St Neots conceded a free kick wide on the right and Frazer Blake-Tracy’s direct shot seemed to be covered by St Neots custodian James Philp, but ace marksman Adam Marriot got the touch that left the keeper stranded.   Marriott then almost doubled his tally, but Philip anticipated well to block his effort.   Dan Trendall beat the visitors’ offside trap, but Ryan Fryatt got back to clear and then visiting keeper Alexander Street under pressure did well to clutch a Joe Hood cross.   However much of the play was in the direction of the St Neots goal and after 20 minutes Adam Marriott doubled his personal tally after being left unmarked at the far post.   The impressive Jordan Richards then rattled the crossbar and Marriott proving a real thorn in the St Neots defence might have completed a 25 minutes hat trick but for a fine block by Ryan Hughes with the goal looking invitingly open.   St Neots tried hard to make an impression on a resolute visiting defence with skipper Matt Miles and Mason Rhiney prompting from midfield,but the measure of the visiting side was that they always seemed to have extra players on the pitch.

Two goals in a three minutes’ spell early in the second half put paid to St Neots’ hopes of any reward from the match.   After 53 minutes a slick move from midfield saw Richards find Michael Gash unmarked at the far post.   His angle was narrow, but his fiercely hit shot ricocheted off the unfortune Ryan Hughes for an own goal.   Lynn maintained their pressure and from a Michael Clunan corner, Rory McAuley rose high above the defence to power a header into the roof of the net.   Both sides then opted to utilise their allowed number of substitutes – Lynn no doubt happy that the points were assured and St Neots trying to vary their approach against an impenetrable defence.   The  result was a period of non-productive play but in the final fifteen minutes the game became more open.   A fierce effort by Aaron Jones was well parried but the reshaped St Neots attack was beginning to grow in confidence and the hard-working Dan Trendall shot narrowly wide and substitute Joe Rider  had an opening after good work by Matt Miles and Prince Mutswunguma, but his finish was weak.   Two late bookings for the home side seemed to sap their confidence and two minutes into added time visiting substitute William Mellors-Blair raced clear to beat the keeper with a shot that rebounded in off the far post.  Ironically even if St Neots had won this match, they could not have caught Lowestoft Town who impressively defeated play-off hopefuls Stratford Town 3-2.

 

St Neots Town:  Philip, Hood, Mutswunguma, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Joseph, Rhiney, Trendall, Bradley, Sutton

Subs:  Hudson (for Joseph 67 mins), Rider (for Bradley 67 mins), Dunnett (for Shaw 67 mins) and McCormack.

Cards:  Hood (Y – 71 mins), Sutton (Y – 84 mins), Mutswunguma (Y – 89 mins)

Scorers:  none

Kings Lynn Town:  Street, Jones, Blake-Tracy, Jarvis, Fryatt, McAuley, Clunan, Richards, Gash, Marriott, Parker

Subs:  Mellors-Blair (for Gash 62 mins), Hawkins (for Marriott 67 mins), Barrows (for Jarvis 71 mins), Henderson and Robinson.

Cards: Street (Y – 19 mins), Blake-Tracy (Y – 21 mins)

Scorers:  Adam Marriott (2) (5 & 20 mins), Hughes OG (53 mins), McAuley (56 mins), Mellors-Blair

(90 + 2 mins)

Referee:  Alastair Wilson (Boston)

Attendance:  320

John Walker

Looking ahead to a busy Easter programme

UPCOMING MATCHES PREVIEW

Regardless of their precarious league position St Neots players and supporters have their traditional two match Easter programme to complete this weekend.   The Monday fixture is as usual a derby match and will be their final away trip but before then the Premier Plus Stadium will be fuller than usual on Saturday.   The visitors for the penultimate home fixture of the season are to be Kings Lynn Town and they are expected to bring a large following of supporters.   The atmosphere will be special for the visitors because last Saturday their side clinched their place in the end of season play offs.   However, that is not the final challenge this season, because in their remaining three matches they need mathematically to pick up three wins to ensure a home tie in their one-off semi-final play-off.   Lynn was relegated from Step Two ten years ago because their stadium did not reach Conference North requirements and then the club was wound up by the courts because of unpaid debts to HMRC.   The club was then relaunched at Step Five in the UCL Premier Division and won promotion to the Southern League in 2012/13.   Their aim now is toregain their Step Two status alongside champions Kettering for next season.

Easter Monday’s short trip is to neighbours St Ives.   Their hosts are all set for their best-ever finish in the Southern League Premier Division and having won at St Neots on New Years’ Day they will be looking to record only their second league double over St Neots almost in living memory.   One thing for sure is to for the first time ever St Ives can legitimately claim that in the 2019/20 season they can proudly claim to be Huntingdonshire’s most senior team.   However, St Neots will travel hoping to repeat their Senior Cup semi-final victory at Westwood Road last February when goals from Dylan Williams and Nabil Shariff gave them a 2-0 victory.

 

John Walker

 

 

 

Rhiney rocket not enough as Rushall snatch the points with late penalty winner

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Rushall Olympic       3        St Neots Town       2 

Ben Bradley and Mason Rhiney both scored their first ever goals for St Neots and the visitors led twice but back came Rushall with two goals in the final eight minutes take all three points.   With Lowestoft mirroring St Neots achievements of seven days earlier with victory at Hitchin the combination of those results left St Neots teetering on brink of relegation eight points below their Norfolk rivals with each having three games to play.   With their vastly superior goal difference Lowestoft now need a single point from those three games to despatch St Neots down to Step Four.    With St Neots’ four U18 players in the squad facing their third match in four days a victory over mid-table Rushall was a big ask and with loan full back Jordan Norville-Williams injured and unable to re-join the squad, Manager Marc Abbott left Jacob Joseph and Owen Dunnett on the bench recalling Joe Hood and fit again Dan Trendall.    James Philip was back between the posts and was to be in early action.   After the home side had come back twice to level the scores with eight minutes left it looked like a well-deserved if meaningless point for St Neots but a cruel very harsh penalty decision three minutes from time gave Rushall the opportunity to steal all three points.   The result was particularly unkind to central defenders Ryan Hughes and Stevan Shaw who were magnificent, but the outcome was all part of the reality of senior football where sometime just deserts are not achieved.

Early sparring saw home defender Sam Whittall head over the bar and Dan Trendall at the other end produced a trademark turn and shot that was only inches too high.   Around the quarter of an hour mark James Philip was twice called upon to block a low effort by Ashley Sammons and then turn a second effort by the home player around a post for a corner.  Rushall began to dominate as Tyler Lyttle shot over the bar, a Whittall header was deflected for a corner and a towering header by Orrin Pendley was cleared off the line by Ryan Hughes.   However, St Neots came back into contention in the final ten minutes of the half as skipper Matt Miles saw a shot deflected and then they won a free kick floated in by Mason Rhiney and Ben Bradley fired just too high.   However, six minutes before the break he made up for that disappointment by putting St Neots ahead as he was in the perfect place to convert a cross from Trendall who had outpaced his marker.   This narrow lead at the break was well-deserved for the work rate alone displayed by the visitors.

After a Miles cross had been acrobatically saved by home keeper Matthew Sargeant, the home side hit back with an equalising goal as Benjamin Lund headed a cross back for Simeon Moye to hit a low short beneath the diving Philip after 55 minutes but St Neots regained their advantage just two minutes later when Mason Rhiney made space for himself 30 yards from goal to send a dipping shot over the keeper.    However, the home Manager replied by sending on his two final permitted substitutes and adopting a wider more attacking approach.   Now St Neots under the defensive direction of Ryan Hughes had to be at their best but Rushall were hampered when goalkeeper Sergeant limped off with a groin strain meaning that defender Sam Whittall had to don the gloves.   However, he was rarely tested whilst Sammons a substitute Aram Soleman tested Philip.   With eight minutes left the home pressure paid off as Soleman crossed from the right and a powerful headed by Daniel Waldron levelled the scores.   Five minutes later a mis-timed tackle by Rhiney felled Soleman and the Referee awarded a penalty confidently tucked away by the home emergency goalkeeper Sam Whittle to the delight of the home supporters.   Elsewhere Kettering became divisional champions to earn Step Two football next season as they defeated Halesowen to condemn them to Step Four in August.

St Neots Town:  Philp, Hood, Fulianty, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Mutswunguma, Rhiney, Trendall, Bradley, Sutton

Subs: Dunnett (for Bradley 85 mins), Rider (for Sutton 90+1 min), Joseph (for Mutswunguma 90+1 min) and Abbott.

Cards:  none

Goals: Bradley (39 mins), Rhiney (57 mins)

Rushall Olympic:  Sergeant, Lyttle, Smikle, Smith, Whittall, Pendley, Waldron, Maye. McDonald, Sammons, Lund

 Subs:  O’Callaghan (for Sergeant 62 mins), Berry (for Smith 67 mins), Soleman (for McDonald 67 mins), Adelekan and Bridgewater.

Cards:none

Goals:  Maye (55 mins), Waldron (82 mins), Whittall – pen – (87 mins)

 

Referee:  Ryan Williams (Coventry)  

Attendance:       203

 

John Walker

Saints blown away by rampant Rovers in Senior Cup Final

 

HUNTINGDONSHIRE SENIOR CUP FINAL

St Neots Town       0         Godmanchester Rovers        6

In the end it was a disappointing showpiece Senior Cup Final best described as men against boys. Godmanchester full of confidence and on a high chasing the runners-up spot in the Thurlow Nunn League for the third time, facing a depleted and out-of-sorts St Neots side, who were the trophy holders very low on both experience and confidence.   St Neots faced the loss of two of their most charismatic players – Dan Trendall to injury and Jordan Norville-Williams recalled by parent club Cambridge United – and they never really competed.   Joe Hood was also unavailable and into their places St Neots had no option but to draft in three of their Youth Cup winners Leon Fulianty, Jacob Joseph and Owen Dunnett.   The ‘visiting’ side smelled blood from the off and always were certain winners from as early as the fifth minute when they scored their first goal.   The St Neots defence was ragged and disorganised and the rampant visiting side were gifted several goals by elementary errors not really expected at this level of football.    Records will show that this was the second time in three years that St Neots have lost to Step Five opponents in this final – both times on their own pitch.  Ironically last season St Neots scored six goals themselves in beating Eynesbury Rovers in the final, but this was St Neots biggest Senior Cup defeat for 35 years having been beaten by Eynesbury Rovers 7-2 in 1983/84 season.

Godmanchester got the perfect start when after five minutes a clever flick by Charlie Bowen set up Cavan King to hook the ball over St Neots 17 years old goalkeeper Michael McCormack.   They then lost Matty Allan to injury but undeterred they continued to dominate with Charlie Bowen adding a second goal firing through a packed defence after 18 minutes when Jack Chandler’s initial effort had been blocked.   St Neots had little to offer in the way of retaliation or resistance and when Buster Harradine joined the goals spree after 31 minutes when McCormack failed to gather a long clearance from his opposite number, the game was effectively over.   Jacob Joseph mis-kicked in front of goal to waste St Neots’ best chance seven minutes before the break and Godmanchester went straight to the other end where the irrepressible Buster Harradine scored from a narrow angle across the bemused McCormack.   In a defiant flourish just before half time Joe Sutton twice broke down the left to test Niall Conroy in the Rovers goal and Stevan Shaw combined well with Prince Mutswunguma but could not find a telling final shot.

In a bid to regain some credibility St Neots sent on two further Youth players after the break but it was Godmanchester substitute Tom Spark who broke to almost further increase the lead, but his shot rebounded from the foot of a post.   The momentum seemed to drop with Godmanchester seemingly happy with their first half efforts but after Joe Rider had headed narrowly wide for St Neots a Harradine corner after 71 minutes created confusion in the box and Austin Diaper added his name to the score sheet.    It was then only left for Buster Harradine almost inevitably to complete his hat trick ten minutes from time whilst St Neots best effort was a Ben Bradley shot that failed to bother Conroy.   Injuries to McCormack held up the flow of play and the game fizzled out with Godmanchester delighted to earn ownership of the County Senior trophy for the first time since 2014.   For the record it was the first time in living memory that St Neots fielded a side, none of whom had played in the Senior Cup until this season.

St Neots Town:  McCormack, Shaw, Fulianty, Miles, Hughes, Dunnett, Joseph, Rhiney, Mutswunguma, Bradley, Sutton

Subs: Clarke (for Shaw 46 mins), Rider (for Rhiney 46 mins), Trendall and Abbott.

Cards:  Bradley (Y – 28 mins), Mutswunguma (Y – 59 mins)

Goals: none

 

Godmanchester Rovers:  Conroy, King (R), Brown,Unwin, Bowen, King (C), Allan, Diaper, Harradine,      Hyem (M), Chandler

 Subs:  Spark (for Allan 17 mins), Munro (for Diaper 79 mins), Bull (for Harradine 87 mins), Hyem (C) and Walker.

Cards:  Hyem (M) (Y – 45+3 mins), Diaper (Y – 59 mins)

Goals:  Harradine 3 (31,38 and 80 mins), King (C), Bowen and Diaper

 

Referee:  Josh Crofts  

Attendance:       259

John Walker

 

 

ST NEOTS TOWN FC ACADEMY TRIALS - SEASON 2019/20

 

St Neots Town FC Academy Trial Dates For Season 2019/20

 

U9’s  U10’s  U11’s

Monday 13th May 6pm - 7.30pm

Wednesday 15th May 6pm - 7.30pm

 

U12’s

Monday 20th May 6pm - 7.30pm

Wednesday 22nd May 6pm - 7.30pm

 

U13’s  U14’s 

Monday 13th May 8pm - 9.30pm

Monday 20th May 6pm - 7.30pm

 

U15’s   U16’s

Wednesday 15th May 8pm - 9.30pm

Monday 20th May 8pm - 9.30pm

 

All Trials held on the GESS 3G Arena at St Neots Town FC. Wear appropriate football kit and bring plenty of Water

 

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further info or simply copy,  paste and populate the google form below:

 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdnS8QdmKEZC14OwKv-EPTJ56fo8Xf5Vy6TQTlriMmBkXYKXg/viewform

 

Are you interested in joining our coaching team ?

 

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Looking ahead to a County Cup Final and a trip to Rushall Olympic

UPCOMING MATCHES PREVIEW

As the season draws to a close St Neots has two more vitally important matches this week. On Wednesday evening, we face neighbours Godmanchester Rovers in the final of the Huntingdonshire Senior Challenge Cup, here at the Premier Plus Stadium. Having lifted the trophy last season, we start as theoretical favourites with a two steps advantage in our league status. However almost all our team members will making their Senior Cup debut whereas Godmanchester are an experienced outfit having only just missed out on the Thurlow Nunn championship this season. A glance at the records shows that Rovers last lifted the trophy four seasons ago beating Yaxley at Huntingdon and they will regard winning this Cup Final as compensation for one of their best-ever league campaigns. It will be a reunion for their players Micky Hyem and Tom Spark who recently were members of the St Neots Southern League side.

Then on Saturday to keep our lingering hopes of Step Three status alive, we travel to Rushall Olympic, where a repeat performance of last Saturday’s victory at Hitchin is required. It will be our first ever league appearance at that venue and earlier this season Rushall visited the Premier Plus Stadium winning a tightly fought match by a goal to nil. Rushall are currently tenth in the league table, unable to make the play-offs this season but it will be a big ask for our youngsters to carve out the victory required. However, if they can muster the determination and commitment displayed last Saturday anything may be possible.

John Walker

 

 

 

 

Dan's the man as a Trendall double helps the Saints to three valuable points at Hitchin

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

 

Hitchin Town       0         St Neots Town       2 

 

With Lowestoft beaten at home by Coalville, St Neots last gasp hopes of escaping relegation began to look possible following their unlikely 2-0 victory at Hitchin.   Now with just five points between the two sides with four matches to go St Neots can keep dreaming – especially as Lowestoft go to Hitchin next Saturday and the home sides’ reaction to this defeat could be key.   St Neots’ record at Top Field is far from impressive with just one victory in their previous six visits prior to this trip and they had to recover from the double whammy of losing leading scorer Garry Wharton and Northampton Town recalled midfield dynamo Scott Pollock.   Into their places came Mason Rhiney and Prince Mutswunguma in a reshaped attack and there was a debut for goalkeeper Michael McCormack with regular custodian James Philip unavailable.   The new keeper whose previous club experience had been limited to just six Reserve appearances was very impressive as he recorded a clean sheet with a mix of inspired and brave saves whilst Dan Trendall the former Saffron Walden wide player was mandated to take over the strikers’ role and he responded with the two goals that earned the three invaluable points.   However, the victory was down to a determined and committed all round display by a side that shrugged off their inexperience to look capable of dealing with anything that their hosts could muster.   Needing a single point to ensure their place at Step Three next season there was no lack of desire by Hitchin, but they were contained by a goalkeeper and defence that thoroughly deserved their victory and the points.

Former Saint Isaac Galliford quickly made his mark with an inch perfect cross to find the head of the unmarked Jack Green in the second minute, but his headed effort was too high.   At the other end a teasing Joe Hood free kick was well claimed under pressure by home keeper Michael Johnson and then his opposite number was in action saving a point-blank shot by Green.   The same player did get the ball in the net after 17 minutes but was ruled offside and then the visiting defence did well to smother shots by Ezra Forde and Scott Belgrove.   St Neots were now looking more comfortable as the lively Ben Bradley had his net-bound shot deflected and after 37 minutes they deservedly took the lead.   A Joe Sutton shot from distance was fumbled and then dropped by Johnson and Dan Trendall was quickly in to capitalise on the error and put St Neots ahead.   A minute before the break a well-placed free kick by Galliford was well saved by Michael McCormack who was beginning to look confident and just before the break Prince Mutswunguma was booked for his third foul coming from clumsiness rather than intent.

The Hitchin Manager was clearly unhappy with his sides’ first half performance and after the break he introduced two substitutes and changed his tactics to a more attacking formation.   A corner by Galliford went across the face of goal with no-one able to get a touch and then another effort by the same Hitchin player was pushed away under pressure by McCormack at the expense of a corner.   Then after 51 minutes Bradley robbed a hesitant defender to race clear of the defence before unselfishly picking out the unmarked Dan Trendall at the far post and he advanced on goal to double St Neots’ advantage.   Hitchin substitute Charlie Thake was having an immediate impact on the game for Hitchin with his physical presence testing the St Neots defence and forced McCormack into pushing one effort for a corner before setting up Galliford to bring the save of the match from the visiting keeper with an almost perfectly placed shot just under the bar.   Another former St Neots player Joshua Bickerstaff then shot wide when well placed as Hitchin pressed but St Neots made openings of their own with Bradley firing narrowly wide.   With seventeen minutes left Trendall sustained an ankle injury and was unable to continue being replaced by Jacob Joseph – a Youth side County Cup winner from the previous evening.   A minor flare up saw a player from each side booked and the match ended with McCormack saving bravely at the feet of substitute Nathan Mullings.

St Neots Town:  McCormack, Hood, Norville-Williams, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Mutswunguma, Rhiney, Trendall, Bradley, Sutton

SubsJoseph (for Trendall 73 mins), Rider (for Mutswunguma 90+4 mins), Dunnett and Abbott.

Cards:  Rhiney (Y – 35 mins), Mutswunguma (Y – 45 mins), Shaw (Y – 80 mins)

Goals:  Trendall 2 (37 and 51 mins)

Hitchin Town:   Johnson, Mensah, Anderson, Dowie, Webb, Ferrell, Green, Belgrove, Forde, Galliford, Bickerstaff

Subs:  Thake (for Mensah 46 mins), Mullings (for Forde 46 mins), Bird (for Belgrove 61 mins), and Thomas.

Cards:  Dowie (Y – 80 mins)

Goals:  none

Referee:  Steven Bates (St Albans)

Attendance: 472

John Walker

 

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

 

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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