St Neots Town Reserves 1 : 2 Leighton Town
Round One
St Neots Town Reserves 1 : 2
Leighton Town
Tuesday 20 September, 2016 19:45




Spartan South Midlands League Challenge Trophy








Even in defeat this was probably St Neots Reserves’ best performance of the season.  It was supposed to be a David v Goliath clash with visitors Leighton Town of the Premier Division two steps above their hosts but St Neots had clearly not read the script.   They were equal to their visitors for much of the ninety minutes and could have recorded an upset had they taken the chances they created.   This was St Neots first foray into the League Challenge Trophy – a competition that is open to all three Divisions of the South Midlands League.   They came into the match after an away weekend league defeat but this performance will be a confidence boost prior to three of their next four league and cup games which are away from home.




Leighton began strongly and took the lead in their first attack after three minutes.  A free kick was swung into the far post where Mario Santos-Costa rose above the defence to head strongly past the diving Scott Stanford.  The keeper then had to be alert to gather a well-placed volley by Matt Bateman but St Neots unfazed by their early setback settled quickly to compete.   A header by skipper Luke Partridge from an Andrew Sincock corner rattled the visitors’ crossbar and after 23minutes St Neots deservedly levelled when a free kick from 25 yards by Anthony Brolia took a slight deflection to beat Jack Shillito in the Leighton goal.   Jack Brown then saw a net bound shot deflected for a corner and two late first half chances could have seen St Neots going to half time in the lead.  Firstly, a rising shot by Jamie Osborne was pushed over the crossbar by the keeper and then the same player shot narrowly across the face of goal with the visiting defence is disarray.




The second half turned out to be a typical end to end cup tie with both sides creating and missing chances.  Nathan Gillespie hooked a shot over the bar but the one effort that did count proved to be the match winner.   It came after 53 minutes when a long cross from Santos-Costa found Mark Hewitt totally unmarked at the far post and he netted with a well-placed header.    St Neots roared back with Osborne and Brolia testing Shillito and at times St Neots were so intent on attack that they left themselves exposed in defence.   On one such occasion after 69 minutes Ross Hanley played Jaiden Irish clear of the St Neots defence but he shot wildly over the bar.   With quarter of an hour left Osborne did get the ball in the net for St Neots only to be judged narrowly offside and when he was brought down on the edge of the box in the next attack Brolia’s well hit free kick was comfortably saved by Shillito.  Leighton were glad to cling on to their narrow advantage having Mark Smith booked for a deliberate handball to halt another St Neots attack.




Man of the Match: Reece Beavis






Reserves: Stanford, Stevens, Beavis, Bambridge, Partridge, Fitzgerald, Sincock, Gillespie, Osborne, Brolia, Brown




Subs: Smith (for Bambridge 66), Reynolds (for Sincock 71), Cooke (for Stevens 77), Ashby and Walsh.




Cards: Beavis (Y – 63)




Goal: Brolia (23 minutes)




Referee: Paul Burgess (Luton)


John Walker