FA VASE FIRST ROUND PROPER
ST NEOTS TOWN 2 GREAT WAKERING ROVERS 2 (Great Wakering wIn 4-2 on penalties)
For once St Neots expertise from the penalty spot let them down as defenders Kyle Lincoln and Nathan George saw their penalty kicks saved by visiting keeper Luis Shamshoun in the sudden death shoot-out. St Neots could not earned their draw later in the match, after scoring their second equalising goal six minutes into added time at the end of a disappointing FA Vase tie. So now if they are to get any sort of Cup success this season, they will have to win their way to glory in the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup later in the season. Their Essex visitors, like St Neots, had been relegated from Step Four at the end of last season and their only other victory away from home this season had come in the FA Vase at Basildon. St Neots did not play well and can have little complaint in defeat, and on the day, they saw March Town recover from a two goals half time deficit at home to Histon, come back to earn a point in a 2-2 draw to earn a point to go top of the league table pushing St Neots off the top with both now having completed fourteen league matches. The one enforced team change saw Skipper Kyle Lincoln return to a reshaped side with cup-tied Jordan Brown making way.
The first twenty minutes of the match saw the reorganised home side struggling to compete but fortunately the visitors failed to take advantage of superior possession and their only noteworthy effort in this opening phase was a shot by Harry Talbot high over the bar after he had been played clear of the defence. St Neots then woke up and after visiting keeper Luis Shamshoun had spilled a cross following a corner, Dean Dummett saw an effort that had beaten the keeper headed off the line by Harrison Topliss. Two minutes later St Neots took the lead when a long clearance from Nathan George picked out James Hatch wide on the right and his clever ball control saw him bypass a defender to set up Magloire Muyembe for his second goal of the season. The visitors hit back with Ben Search firing just wide and Callum Boylan just failing to reach a Harry Talbot cross in front of a gaping goal. Then just before the break two goals in three minutes by the visitors put then firmly in control. The first came after a clumsy challenge by Tommy Reynolds upended Talbot and from the penalty spot Callum Boylan sent James Goff the wrong way to net. Then before St Neots had time to recover Talbot rounded the unfortunate Reynolds to set up Boylan for a simple finish to make in 2-1 for the visiting side. In added time the lively Israel Ajana went past two defenders only to see his shot deflected for a corner.
St Neots needed a strong response after the interval but for a while the visiting side had the upper hand. Talbot broke through but could only fire over the bar and then home keeper James Goff had to produce the save of the match to turn over a dipping shot from Billy Johnson. In another Wakering attack an Hafeez Eleguishi header found the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed for some off the ball pushing. St Neots tried to respond with Ajana and Harvey Williams lively on the flanks, but they lacked penetration through a well-organised visiting defence. Search then brought a full length save from Goff and as the second half progressed St Neots enjoyed the better possession with the visitors seeming happy just to protect their slender lead. With just two minutes of normal time remaining Ajana slipped his marker to bring a good save from Shamshoun and after two lengthy injury stoppages the referee indicated eight minutes to be added. St Neots spent most of that time in the visitors’ half and with six minutes of the added time gone St Neots were awarded a penalty when Ajana was brought down. Joshua Brown netted from the spot to send the game into a penalty shoot out but all to no avail.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – Kindly Sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry – JAMES HATCH
St Neots Town: Goff, Reynolds, Nickels, Josh Brown, George, Lincoln, Ajana, Dummett, Hatch, Muyembe, Williams
Subs: Smith (for Muyembe 549 mins), Black (for Williams 90+1 min), Kalek, Rowley, and Romeo