Huntingdonshire Senior Cup Final (at the Premier Plus Stadium)
ST NEOTS TOWN 0 EYNESBURY ROVERS 1
Eynesbury Rovers crowned an excellent season making up for their disappointment of not sustaining a League title challenge by beating Step Three neighbors St Neots Town in the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup Final. It was the first time for 15 years that they had been County Champions and to do so they had beaten the other Step Three side reigning Trophy holders, St Ives Town, in the semi-final. After achieving their highest ever league finish Rovers were determined to finish their season in this fashion and on the night, they fully merited their victory. St Neots were without two of their injured stars – both strikers, Jevani Brown and Declan Rogers – who had scored almost a half of their sides’ goals between them this season but they never performed to their potential and Eynesbury goalkeeper Jamie Greygoose one of several ex-Saints in the Rovers side, had a very comfortable evening, seldom called upon. Overall it was a disappointing spectacle for the healthy sized crowd, that never produced the pulsating football expected of a cup final and what turned out to be the winning goal was the only really controversial moment in the 90 minutes. It came two minutes before half time when a Jack Warwick corner was not cleared and Jack Uttridge lifted the ball back into the area where Tom Coles challenged goalkeeper Alex Archer in the air. The ball finished up in the net as Archer was clattered to the ground with St Neots confidently expecting a free kick. However, Referee Hallum Cutmore after a glance across at his Assistant pointed back to the centre spot and the goal stood.
The match had almost seen a dramatic start when after just 26 seconds Jordan Brown threaded a pass between the St Neots centre backs and Tom Coles stretched to get a toe to the ball but saw it pass the wrong side of a post. The game then settled into a sort of cat and mouse affair with Rovers the more positive and constructive side and St Neots defending resolutely but failing to create chances of their own. Coles headed wide from a Warwick corner whilst at the other end Taylor Parr headed down a St Neots corner but no forward was able to capitalize. Ten minutes before the break Rovers had the best chance of the match when the St Neots defence was caught out of position and Alex Archer had to produce an outstanding triple save to block consecutive close range efforts from Jordan Brown and Warwick (twice). However, that was the sum-total of the first half excitement and the visiting side went to half time with that slender one goal advantage.
The second half was marginally better for the first twenty minutes with Rovers still in the ascendancy and St Neots solitary effort a volley from Tom Wood that sailed over the bar. The industrious Micky Hyem then brought his only significant save from Greygoose with a low snap shot pushed for a corner and there was a clutch of yellow cards as the two sides signaled their determination not to succumb. Eynesbury clearly settled for their narrow advantage as the half wore on and St Neots utilized all three available substitutes to little effect and it was not until added time at the end of the game that another goal looked probable. Then Eynesbury substitute Allan Owen was presented with an unexpected opening in a breakaway attack but he lifted his effort high over the bar and then at the other end Greygoose was perfectly placed to save a header from Lewis Wilson. St Neots were left to reflect on their major feat of retaining their Step Three status but having been beaten in three of their four Cup competitions by lower graded opposition they must work under the heading ‘must do better’ next season!
St Neots: Archer, Butler, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Norman, Bell-Toxtle, Wilson, Hyem, Tricks
Subs: Knowles (for Norman 46 mins), Partridge (for Butler 69 mins), Nurettin (for Tricks 83 minutes), Williams and Dean.
Cards: Hyem (Y – 26), Clarke (Y – 55), Knowles (Y – 82)
Eynesbury: Greygoose, Moyes, Uttridge, Woodend, Duckett (J), Duckett (R), Brown, Warwick, Bream, Coles, Smith.
Subs: Owen (for Smith 46 mins), Thorpe, Mason, Walton, Mackrell.
Cards: Smith (Y – 45+3), Brown (Y – 63), Woodend (Y – 80), Greygoose (Y – 82)
Goal: Coles (43 mins)
Referee: Hallum Cutmore