St Neots recent record in the FA Youth Cup is no better than patchy. In the past five seasons they have won just one game, going out in their first match on the other four occasions. The one exception to this record was a home Preliminary Round victory two years ago over Barton Rovers U18. However, they more than made up for this with a comprehensive Preliminary Round victory this time around, over visiting Harpenden U18. It was a result fashioned around a stunning first half display where they carved out their passage to the next round with three well taken goals.
In only their second competitive match of the season they looked confident and sharp from the off although visitors Harpenden looked well-balanced opponents. In the first attack Marley Ugarte-Edwards was played clear of the defence but his effort was too high whilst at the other end Charlie Culank shot wide in the visitors’ first real attack. Then after 14 minutes St Neots took the lead. An attack down the left saw Julinho Gomes go past two defenders and when his effort was blocked the ball fell to Kasper Kobus on the edge of the area and he rapped home. St Neots continued to press, and Ugarte-Edwards set up strike partner Alfie Carberry but visiting keeper George Nicol spread himself to block the shot with his legs. St Neots though, were not to be denied and another decisive attack ended with the speedy Gomes setting up Marley Ugarte-Edwards for a decisive finish. As half time approached the visitors were pinned back in their own half and three minutes before the break Newman Nshangalume added the third goal to give the home side a very commanding half time lead.
The second half saw St Neots adopt a less attacking approach and although they still had a much greater possession of play, they found the visiting defence tighter and more determined. Nicol distinguished himself with a 59th minute full length save to push away a low drive from St Neots skipper Ryan Thomas, and St Neots introduced substitute Jaiden Bell in a bid to break down the visiting defence. Carberry tested the keeper but was then substituted and Nshangalume shot wide after a good move split the Harpenden defence. The most notable second half action came in the final five minutes. The lively Julinho Gomes was upended by David Omoregbees to earn a penalty kick which he converted himself before the visitors earned themselves a late consolation goal, also from the penalty spot, scored by Reece Lambert.
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