SOUTHERN LEAGUE KO CUP ROUND THREE
Royston Town 2 St Neots Town 1
An injury torn St Neots side produced a very courageous performance against higher rated Royston Town in the third round of the League Cup before bowing out by the odd goal in three. All the goals came in the final twenty minutes of a competitive and entertaining contest in very testing conditions. In the first half that was evenly contested, the home side seemed shocked by St Neots positive approach to the game but both sides were hampered by a series of injuries and substitutions. St Neots had to reshuffle in advance with skipper Lee Watkins and Wynford Marfo serving their one match ban for picking up fifth yellow cards this season, and Charlie Johnson nursing the injury suffered in the last match. Into their places were drafted Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite for his first start of the season, Mamadou Job after his one match suspension, and what proved to be a partly fit Joe Rider who unfortunately only lasted for seventeen minutes. That was only the start of St Neots’ problems because his replacement Callum Anderson, after missing the last game through injury, also had to be replaced after just twenty-five minutes on the pitch with a recurrence of his injury. If that were not enough Kwai Marsh-Brown had to be substituted twenty-five minutes from time with a serious calf injury. This meant that the stretched St Neots squad saw two of their U18 players have considerable time on the pitch less than 24 hours after their important league match with Deeping Rangers.
From the start St Neots, playing against the wind, took the game to their hosts and after the early skirmishes the match suffered a four minutes’ delay as Freddie Brown was injured and eventually replaced by Makai Murray. St Neots then enjoyed a good spell of pressure on the home defence with a cross by Neo Richard-Noel being well saved under pressure by home debutant goalkeeper Dimitros Kyriatzis, and the keeper then fielded a low shot from Joe Rider who then limped off. The visitors continued to press and Kyriatzis had to leave his line quickly to gather at the feet of Richard-Noel but towards the end of the first half the home side came more into the match with Ed Asafu-Adjaye shooting over the bar when well-placed and George Whitehall saving well from the lively Brandon Adams. The first half ended with St Neots reshuffling their side as they strove to bed in their two substitutes.
After the break St Neots had the wind at their backs but like their hosts in the first half, they failed to control their forward passing. Kwai Marsh-Brown shot wide of target for the visitors after good work by Charley Barker and when Richard-Noel was brought down on the edge of the area he picked himself up to drive the free kick into the wall to earn a corner which was cleared. Barker also had an effort deflected wide and at this stage St Neots were looking full of confidence. However, the injury to Marsh-Brown seemed to stop St Neots in their tracks and in the final twenty minutes Royston looked more in control. After sixty-eight minutes Adams broke clear of the defence but sent his angled shot just wide of the far post but three minutes later the breakthrough came as St Neots were dispossessed in midfield and this time in the clear Brandon Adams made no mistake with a clinical finish to open the scoring.
A second goal ten minutes later from substitute Tom Newman effectively settled the outcome although St Neots never gave up and Neo Richard-Noel deservedly claimed a late consolation goal as the game went into added time.
Match Gallery courtesy of @RichInVideo
Tonight’s Saints Suppporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to CHARLEY BARKER
St Neots: Whitehall, Heal, Smith, Abbott, Wilson-Braithwaite, Jobe, Cowling, Barker, Richard-Noel, Rider, Kwai Marsh-Brown
Subs: Anderson (for Rider 17 mins), Gomes (for Anderson 43 mins), Smalley (for Marsh-Brown 67 mins) Clark and Anthony
Cards: Wilson-Braithwaite (Y – 75 mins), Richard-Noel (Y – 84 mins)
Goals: Richard-Noel (90 mins)
Royston: Kyriatzis, Garrett-Douglas, Brathwate, Newton, Henry, Murray (A), Goldbourne, Adjaye, Brown, Galliford, Adams
Subs: Murray (M) (for Brown (11 mins), Newman (for Murray (M) 66 mins), Green (for Brathwate 86 mins), Endacott and Titchmarsh.
Cards: Goldbourne (Y – 64 mins), Adams (Y – 90+4 mins)
Goals: Adams (71 mins), Newman (81 mins)
Referee: Nathan Oakes (Colchester)