Huntingdonshire U18 (Gayton) Cup Final (at Eynesbury Rovers FC)
EYNESBURY ROVERS U18 0 ST NEOTS TOWN U18 2
St Neots U18 team added the Gayton Cup to the club’s impressive haul of silverware this season as they defeated local rivals Eynesbury Rovers on their own pitch with a goal in each half. It was a match between the two immediate past winners of the trophy with holders Eynesbury unable to make any real impression on the night. They defended with great determination but from the first whistle it was obvious that St Neots’ midfield domination was going to be a key factor in the result. St Neots have had great success with their bold youth policy with at least half a dozen of this talented U18 squad having featured at some time this season for the Southern League side and in this match the added experience was bound to have an effect. The match was played in front of a crowd numbering in excess of 250 and although the match and presentations finished in a downpour there was no lack of enthusiasm either on or off the pitch. Trophies at Senior, U18 and U15 level are now in St Neots proud possession after a season to remember.
Although the match was competitive from the start St Neots created most of the first half goal scoring opportunities. After ten minutes skipper Ryan Sharman was fouled as he made for goal and from his resultant free kick a close range header by Dion Sembie-Ferris was scrambled away by a defender and goalkeeper Christian Duddridge. A cross by Jamie Massey was then deflected for a corner as St Neots applied further pressure and the initial breakthrough came on 18 minutes when full back Junior Moya joined the attack to cross from the right and leading scorer Karl Safee scored with an off balance left foot shot that took a slight deflection on its way into the net. Eynesbury made two early first half substitutions in a bid to add some impetus and one of them – Liam Dawson – registered their first real attempt on goal but Josh Banthorpe saved comfortably. As the first half ended St Neots created a string of openings. Sharman headed over the bar from a Massey corner and another Safee effort was saved at the second attempt. Eynesbury broke away and their best chance of the half came from a defensive misunderstanding leaving Dawson with an open goal but he delayed his shot and Massey got back to clear. The half ended with Duddridge making a fine save from an effort by Sharman.
Sharman was prominent again sending St Neots first second half chance over the bar and he also set up Sembie-Ferris at the far post but he headed wide. More substitutions under the ‘rolling substitutes’ rule followed by both sides and midway through the second half play became ragged but St Neots midfield trio always seemed to have a hold on the game. Defensively St Neots looked secure and confident with Dan Tousaint-Jackson firmly in control and goalkeeper Josh Banthorpe hardly ever seriously tested. Safee sent a shot just wide and the best second half move saw Connor Leneghan, Jake Leonce and Ryan Sharman involved in a field length move that st up Sharman for a volley that beat Duddrigde but passed just the wrong side of the far post. There were just eight minutes remaining when St Neots scored the clinching goal as a Leonce corner found the head of Ryan Sharman and his towering header flew into the to corner. It was just reward for a fine overall team performance.
St Neots: Banthorpe, Moya, Mattin, Massey, Tousaint-Jackson, Hartley, Sembie-Ferris, Belgrove, Safee, Sharman, Barker.
Subs used: Diejomadh, Leonce, Leneghan, Jenkins and Gibbons.
Cards: Safee (Y)