SPORTSGROUND DEVELOPMENT UCL KO CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND
CLIPSTONE 5 ST NEOTS TOWN 2
There was big disappointment for St Neots as they crashed out of the League Cup competition at the first hurdle, beaten by lower graded Clipstone. However, it was a St Neots side short of key players for with Josh Brown and James Hatch already on the injury list they were joined by goalkeeper James Goff and skipper Kyle Lincoln meaning that the heart of the side was missing for this tricky tie. Also missing was full back Dammy Nickels away on business so the visiting side lined up with the heart of their defence missing but it was great credit to Division One outfit Clipstone who took their 100% start in league and cup to nine matches although visiting Manager Cameron Mawer was very displeased with the performance of his side. “Having comeback from a goal down to lead at the break there was no excuse for a lacklustre second half performance” he said. It was a very unusual match with four of the seven goals coming in time added at the end of either half.
The host side looked bright and confident from the start. Jack Gibb fired wide from the first real opening, but St Neots were finding themselves pushed back by a fluid home attack. Then after 17 minutes Clipstone went ahead from their third corner when defender Charlie Taylor netted with a well-placed header. The visitors tried to respond with Harvey Williams looking lively and after 26 minutes he brought a fine save from home custodian Josh Turton after going past two defenders. Young visiting keeper Seb Stacey then had to save at the feet of Will Heather and at the other end St Neots thought they had a good shout for a penalty when Jordan Brown went down in the area, but the Referee waved play on. However, as the game moved into added time at the end of the first half St Neots pulled a goal back as Williams got to the bye line to cross for Jordan Brown to tap in from close range. Even better was to follow because five minutes into added time full back Tommy Reynolds moved up to send a low shot past the home keeper to afford St Neots an unexpected half time lead.
Clipstone returned after the break looking resolute and in a sixty seconds’ spell on 56 minutes they scored not once but twice to reinstate their initial lead. The first came when Jordan Roberts was given too much space on the right William Heather lost his marker to head past Stacey and before the visitors had recovered from the shock the home side scored again when a searing shot from Charlie Hardwick was pushed away at full stretch by Stacey and home striker Jack Gibb was the first to react placing the ball in the unguarded net. St Neots needed a positive reaction to this setback, but they struggled to find any rhythm to their attack, and they began to look frustrated with Dean Dummett finding his way into the Referee’s notebook for an over-zealous challenge on the home keeper. The visitors then had to throw caution to the wind in search of an equaliser and that would prove to be their downfall. After substitute Dom Lawless had squandered their best opening firing over from close range, Clipstone produced the perfect counter when five minutes into added time Ryan Ingram took advantage of the absent defence to make it 4-2 and three minutes later Will Heather claimed his second goal of the game to complete a sad afternoon for the visitors.
Today’s Saints Supoorters’ Man of the Match – kindly sposored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry – TOMMY REYNOLDS