HUNTINGDONSHIRE FA SENIOR CUP QUARTER FINAL
Eaton Socon 3 St Neots Town 1
With their Cambridge United contingent of players and Manager Pete Gill unavailable because of a commitment in the FA Youth Cup, St Neots fielded a very weakened side and gave Eaton Socon a Hunts FA Senior Cup passage through to the Semi Finals of the competition. Not that the home side did not fully deserve their victory – on the night they were much the better side!
Woefully short of ideas and confidence the visitors’ strength was best illustrated by the fact that their two key midfield players named for this match had not started a match for the club this season. St Neots glimmer of hope came when leading scorer Trey Charles pulled a goal back to level the scores just before the break, but two second half goals by the home side saw them thoroughly deserved winners on the night. In front of a bumper midweek crowd the home side continued their excellent record of just one defeat in fourteen league and cup matches this season and will be looking forward to capturing another higher-ranking scalp in the as yet undated semi-final.
It took the home side just seven minutes to stamp their determination on this match as a deliberately placed pass through a square lying visiting defence freed Rhys Thorpe and he rounded stranded visiting keeper Jamie Greygoose to open the scoring from a narrow angle. The keeper then did well to push away an effort by Scott Joseph for a corner and as St Neots tried to respond Try Charles shot across the face of goal and Manny Osei saw his effort comfortably saved by Evan Jeckells. St Neots thought they had levelled after 34 minutes when Toib Adeyemi won an Andre Hasanally corner in the air only to see a defender clear off the line, but St Neots only had to wait another four minutes for an equaliser. It came courtesy of a defensive error and TREY CHARLES was quickly in to take advantage to net. A minute later another Socon error – an under hit back pass – freed Charles again but his finish was too high and in added time at the end of the first half Dom Mason had a good opportunity for Socon, but he also missed the target.
A storming start to the second half saw the home side grasp the initiative towards an almost inevitable victory. Just four minutes in, the visitors left Rhys Thorpe unmarked at the far post and home skipper Mason set him up for a crisp finish to restore the home side’s lead. Home keeper Evan Jeckells then did well to parry a fierce Charles shot at the other end but now the home side seemed to grow in confidence as Thorpe saw an effort pushed for a corner and Andre Reece-Brown sent an effort wide. St Neots introduced substitute Callum Anderson, still not quite fit, for Joe Rider who had not impressed and just past the hour Greygoose kept St Neots hopes alive with the save of the match to deny Mason. However, it was all in vain as after 64 minutes a right-wing corner was not cleared and from just outside the box Jake Anderson hit a fierce drive through the packed area for a 3-1 Socon lead. It was a blow that St Neots never looked like recovering from and after a series of substitutions by both sides Aaron Smith picked up a second yellow card reducing St Neots to ten men for the final ten minutes.
It was the third successive season that St Neots had been defeated in their first match in the County Senior Cup.
Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – TREY CHARLES
St Neots Town: Greygoose, Nche, Jikiemi, Abbott, Smith, Adeyemi, Hasanally, Stokes, Charles, Rider, Osei.
Subs: Anderson (C) (for Rider 58 mins), Tonks (for Abbott 70 mins), Clark (for Osei 82 mins) Stainsby, and Bent.
Cards: Smith (RED – 2xY – 83 mins), Osei (Y – 78 mins)
Goals: Charles (38 mins)