FA CUP – EXTRA PRELIMINARY ROUND REPLAY
FAKENHAM TOWN 2 ST NEOTS TOWN 1 (after extra time)
St Neots bowed out of the FA Cup after a long midweek journey to Norfolk for this replay. They managed to pull back a first half goal to send the match into extra time, but it was the home side who snatched the winning goal. It was a match St Neots should have won for they created the better chances, but their finishing was poor – a fact acknowledged by Manager Cameron Mawer after the match. “It is frustrating not to win when you are the better side” he observed after the match. There were two team changes from the initial match with Demi Romero replacing the unavailable Dean Dummett in midfield and Dom Lawless leading the attack with Lorrell Smith on the bench.
There was a brisk start as both sides began in a positive vein. Jack Guyton broke through the St Neots defence after just three minutes but shot over the bar and then at the other end Dom Lawless angled his effort wide. From a Sam Johnson corner, Harvey Williams fired over the bar and then the visiting keeper was in action saving well from a Cameron Beazer header from a corner. Johnson found the head of James Hatch after good work by Dammy Nickels, but his effort was too high before Fakenham took an eighteenth minute lead. An attack on the left saw a shot rebound from a goalpost and Jay Myhill was the first to react firing low past James Goff. St Neots responded with Williams firing over the bar after neat work by Dom Lawless and the same visiting player then saw a second effort deflected for a corner. From another set piece Kyle Lincoln headed narrowly over the bar before home keeper Luke Pearson produced the save of the match to deny Williams. In a flare up both Josh Brown and Lewis Sturman were booked, and the half ended with Fakenham holding on to their slender lead.
They then began the second half well with Goff having to save smartly from Jake Watts before the same home player shot across the face of goal after his pace had taken him around the last defender. The lively Williams had a shot blocked as St Neots came back into the game, and then after 68 minutes St Neots found a foothold back into the contest as substitute Lorrell Smith produced a smart finish after an attack down the left flank. Now St Neots looked more comfortable but both sides seemed happy to slow the pace and wait for an opening. Substitutes broke up any pattern of play and the match moved into extra time.
St Neots created the first chance, but Williams shot across the face of goal before the Referee played a significant advantage after a home player had been fouled near the half-way line. He waved play on with the home side in possession catching the St Neots defence slow to turn and Jake Watts took full advantage to beat Goff with a low shot eight minutes into the first period of added time. That signalled a St Neots offensive in a bid to retrieve their position, but the home side funnelled back and defended well making it difficult for the visiting attack. Substitute Tom Rowley twice tested the home keeper, but Fakenham held out to take their place in the next round.
Tonight’s Travelling Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – Kindly sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry
St Neots Town: Goff, Reynolds, Nickels, Romero, Brown, Lincoln, Johnson, Myembe, Lawless, Hatch, Williams
Subs: Smith (for Lawless 57 mins), Rowley (for Johnson 80 mins), Ajana (for Reynolds 85 mins). Barnett, and Dean.
Cards: Brown (Y – 42 mins), Romero (45+1 min), Hatch (Y – 65 mins), Mawer (Y – 105 mins).
Fakenham Town: Pearson, Rasberry, Field, Whiteley, Young, Beazer, Terry, Sturmer, Watts, Guyton, Mulhill
Subs: Poore (for Sturman 88 mins), Banda (for Guyton 90 mins), Malenguka (for Watts 114 mins), Edwards, Field, Andrews and Gauntlett.
Cards: Sturman (Y – 42 mins), Terry (Y – 45 mins)
Referee: Andrew Wilson (Kings Lynn)