St Neots Town FC 5:4 Godmanchester Rovers
Match
HSC Semi Final
St Neots Town FC 5 : 4
Godmanchester Rovers
Tuesday 17 January, 2017 19:45

Saints finally banish cup hoodoo to reach the Senior Cup Final after thriller ends in spot-kick success

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 22:31

Huntingdonshire Football Association Senior Challenge Cup Semi-Final

ST NEOTS TOWN      1         GODMANCHESTER ROVERS     1   

(St Neots won 5-4 on penalties)

A perfectly executed set of penalty kicks from  Jevani Brown,  Charlie Day, Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson, Declan Rogers and James Hallin the shoot-out saw St Neots Town see off the spirited challenge of lower graded neighbours Godmanchester Rovers in the first of this season’s Huntingdonshire Senior Cup semi-finals.  They now await St Ives Town or Eynesbury Rovers in the April Cup Final, which will be St Neots’ fifth final appearance in eight seasons.   However, the visitors returned home no doubt feeling hard done by for the had led their hosts by a goal to nil for an hour and had to play the last twenty minutes with ten men after former St Neots player Chae Simons had been sent off after picking up a second yellow card for simulation.   That looked a harsh decision but worse fortune was to follow for Rovers when St Neots scored the latest of equalizing goals fifteen seconds from the end of the first ninety minutes.  They held out in added time as St Neots sought to push home their advantage but in the shoot-out Alex Archer dived to his right to keep out Chris Jones’ fourth spot kick and the St Neots sharp shooters did the rest despite having lost their last four penalty shoot-outs.  With former Rovers Manager Matt Clements at the St Neots helm having a full squad available, he made three changes from the Saturday line-up but had the luxury of a strong bench and used his substitutions to good effect.   Godmanchester paraded St Neots U18 goalkeeper Evan Jeckells for his debut and he had a fine game producing quality saves from James Hall either side of half time and a third from Saul Williams.   It was overall a full-blooded Cup tie and although St Neots progressed they will not be happy with their inability to break down the stubborn defence of the Thurlow Nunn side but the bonus was their determination to compete right up to the final whistle.

Although there was a lively start to the match clear cut chances were few in the early stages.  Rovers skipper Joe Furness had the first direct shot but it was well wide whilst at the other end Nassim L’Ghoul headed over from a Charlie Day cross.   The breakthrough came on the half hour and it was a scrambled affair after the St Neots defence had failed to cut out a right wing cross and the ball ran loose to another former St Neots player Tom Spark and he tapped in from close range.   St Neots were enjoying the better of possession but their efforts lacked quality although Jeckells did well to gather a Peter Clark shot that flew through a packed area.   In a quick break that caught the St Neots defence back peddling the visitors won a free kick floated in by Furness to test Archer who was happy to tip the ball over his crossbar.   Two minutes before the break Jeckells lefty his line swiftly to smother an effort by James Hall after nifty approach work by Clark.

Although Godmanchester had competed well in the first half they were less impressive after the break.   They seemed far too quick to pull their wide players back to defend leaving Arran Mackay up front on his own and handed the attacking initiative to the home side.  The impressive Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson had too much pace for the visiting defence and he found Hall with a pinpoint cross but his shot on the turn was pushed at full stretch for a corner by Jeckells.   Both Simons and Furness picked up yellow cards with desperate tackles as St Neots pressed and after 62 minutes St Neots visibly upped their efforts sending on two strikers in Jevani Brown and Declan Rogers switching to a 4-2-4 formation.   Brown almost got on the end of a Fortnam-Tomlinson cross and Saul Williams’ low shot was saved full length at the foot of a post by Jeckells.   The sending off saw Godmanchester move into fully defensive mode in a bid to maintain their slender lead and this challenged St Neots to find a way through.  They left it late with Tom Wood’s 90th minute header from a Rogers corner sending the game into that dramatic penalty shoot-out.

 

St Neots:  Archer, Williams, Day, Partridge, Wood (T), Parr, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Hyem (M), Hall, Clark, L’Ghoul

Subs:   Rogers (for Clark 62 mins), Brown (for L’Ghoul 62 mins), Alderson (for Williams 86 mins), Norman and McLean.

Cards:  Partridge (Y – 17)

Goals:  Wood (T) (90 mins)

 

Penalties:  Brown, Day, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Rogers and Hall

 

 

Godmanchester:  Jeckells, Hurst, Le, Wood (R), Moran, Sewell, Furness, Hyem (C), Mackay, Simons, Spark

Subs:  Brooks (for Hurst 60 mins),Jones (for Hyem (C) 70mins), Keating (for Mackay 72 mins), King and Brockett.

Cards:  Simons (RED 69 – 2nd Y), Hyem (C) (Y – 31), Furness (Y – 59), Le (Y – 77)

Goals: Spark (30 mins)

 

Penalties:  Furness, Spark, Le and Keating.

 

Attendance: 203

Referee: Josh Croft (Peterborough)

 

John Walker