HUNTINGDONSHIRE SENIOR CUP SEMI-FINAL
St Neots Town 0 Godmanchester Rovers 2
Just when St Neots thought it could not get worse, they were humbled by neighbours Godmanchester Rovers in the Senior Cup semi-final – the second time the step five side had pulled off a Senior Cup shock at the Premier Plus Stadium in three seasons. It was a classic case of the visiting side producing a triumph of match management – get in front and then defend in numbers with organisation and determination to repel anything that their hosts could muster. St Neots left several regulars out of their starting line-up giving valuable experience to some of their fringe players and paid the price that further damaged the self confidence of a side desperate for goals. In the second half visiting keeper Jamie Greygoose produced two outstanding saves to keep St Neots at bay and now Pete Gill’s side must regroup and find some self confidence to add some pride to the remainder of their season. Joe Rider was again side lined by injury but skipper Lee Watkins, Callum Anderson, Wynford Marfo and Charley Barker were all rested and back into the starting line-up came Ben Heal, Aaron Smith, Kwai Marsh-Brown and Marc Abbott, with recent signing Joe Dearman given his first senior start, going on to earn the Supporters man-of-the-match award.
The signs looked promising at the start as St Neots dominated the early exchanges and Perry White had the ball in the visitors net from a corner after nine minutes but the award of a free kick to the visitors chalked out that effort. Myles Cowling fired over the bar from a Ben Heal cross and the early home side possession was effectively nullified when Godmanchester scored in their first real attack after 25 minutes. Mohammed Akhtar was allowed far too much space on the left and his cross was not defended as former Saint Lawrence Hammond stole in to open the scoring. That should have been a wake-up call and St Neots did create a couple of openings but from a Neo Richard-Noel cross an off balance Kwai Marsh-Brown shot well wide and then brother Ky fired tamely over the bar after good work by Cowling. Nine minutes before the break and in only their second serious affront on the home goal, the visitors doubled their lead as they breached the home defence again for Kian Harness to net at the far post. St Neots tried to respond, and a Marc Abbott free kick was well saved at his near post by Jamie Greygoose but then both sides lost players to first half injuries – Reece King replacing Jack Dickerson for the visitors and club skipper Lee Watkins on for Aaron Smith.
At half time a change of tactics saw the visitors opt for a more defensive approach. With just one player left up front they packed midfield and defence, determined to hang on to their two goals cushion. Conceding possession to St Neots should have given an incentive to the home side but sadly they failed to take advantage. They did create openings, but Kwai Marsh-Brown fired wildly over the bar after a promising build-up and when St Neots were denied a penalty after Cowling was brought down in the area, the home side seemed to lose momentum. Cowling did have a shot blocked as Godmanchester’s strict man- to-man marking stifled St Neots better intentions and with the visiting goal under little pressure the match was beginning to drift. St Neots did regenerate their efforts in the last ten minutes with Lee Watkins bringing the save of the match from Greygoose at the expense of a corner but St Neots finishing lacked penetration and accuracy.
A second outstanding save by the visiting keeper to deny Ky Marsh-Brown ended St Neots late resistance and Rovers will now face St Ives Town in the Cup Final after they defeated Yaxley 8-0 in the other semi-final.Photo Gallery Link Here
Tonight’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to JOE DEARMAN
St Neots Town: Chadwick, Heal, Smith, Abbott, Johnson, White, Cowling, Dearman, Richard-Noel, Kwai Marsh-Brown, Ky Marsh-Brown
Subs: Watkins (for Smith 45+2 mins), Anderson (for Abbott 62 mins), Gomes (for Cowling 84 mins) Thomas and Anthony.
Cards: Watkins (Y – 47 mins)
Godmanchester Rovers: Greygoose, Unwin, Dickerson, Short, Warman, King (M). Allen, Munro, Hammond, Harness, Akhtar
Subs: King (R) (for Dickerson 42 mins), Lewis (for Allen 75 mins), Judge (for Harness 90+3 mins), Butler and Baulk.
Cards: Short (Y – 11 mins), Akhtar (Y – 46+3 mins)
Goals: Hammond (25 mins), Harness (36 mins)
Referee: Joshua Crofts (Great Paxton)