FA TROPHY – FIRST ROUND QUALIFYING
Coleshill Town 3 St Neots Town 2
After 58 minutes with St Neots trailing 1-2 Dan Barton beat two players and was unceremoniously upended by two home defenders inside the home penalty area. As the visitors awaited the Referee’s whistle, Mr Forest from Halesowen waved play on to deny the visitors an obvious spot kick. It was frustrating for the youngster who was injured in the tackle and had to be replaced, for it was his first match back after missing the last seven games due to an injury picked up in the first league match. From that point on both sides adopted an attacking style of play and although St Neots pulled a goal back to level the scores it was the home side that snatched the late winner. It was the third time in the past four seasons that St Neots have exited the FA Trophy at the first hurdle. Without regulars’ goalkeeper Jamie Greygoose and skipper Callum Anderson both injured St Neots also rested George Hoddle and Robbie Mason, and into their places came Barton, Joe Tarpey, Andre Hasanally and Cambridge United loan goalkeeper Tom Finch.
St Neots began well with Trey Charles having two early chances – the first set up by Charlie Stallard – and although his pace saw him clear of the defence home keeper Paul Hathaway blocked with his legs, and the second a snapshot into the side netting. Then the home side settled and began to dominate the attacking play. Tom Finch was quickly in action saving full length from Isia Marsilla and then Josh Willis headed narrowly over the bar from a corner. The pressure paid off after 14 minutes when Kia Tonge was left unmarked to head home the opening goal from a right wing cross. St Neots tried to respond, and Andre Hasanally saw a free kick comfortably gathered by Hathaway, but it was the home side in the ascendancy as a through pass from Josh Willis freed Kia Tonge to slot home his second goal after 36 minutes. Again, St Neots rallied and after their neatest attacking move of the first half four minutes before the break Manny Osei shot disappointingly over the bar. Then just sixty seconds prior to half time Hathaway made a mess of trying to clear a back pass presenting Dan Barton with a simple tap-in finish for his first St Neots goal.
The visitors began the second half promisingly as they had the first, and Barton forced another full length save from Hathaway who also fielded an opportunistic effort from Charles. Up with his attack home full back Taylor Byrne sent a near post header from a corner the wrong side of a goalpost and then the Barton incident set off a series of substitutions by both sides. St Neots adopted a more attacking approach with three in defence with Saleem Akanbi and Callum Anderson on for Barton and Charlie Stallard and both sides adopted a long ball approach in attack. St Neots were rewarded after 71 minutes when from a Charles corner a Charlie Lewis head was parried by the home keeper and when his defence failed to clear Harry Beckett forced the ball home from close range to level the scores. It was, however, the home side that snatched the late winning goal just three minutes from time when substitute Liam Molesworth netted from a narrow angle to send the visitors home disappointed after a much better display than eight days earlier.
Tonight’s Travelling Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to JOE TARPEY
St Neots: Finch, Lewis, Stallard, Tarpey, Beckett, Smith, Barton, Nche, Charles, Hasanally, Osei.
Subs: Anderson (for Barton 62 mins), Akanbi (for Stallard 62 mins), Mason (for Lewis 79 mins) and Clark.
Cards: Lewis (Y – 79 mins)
Goals: Barton (44 mins), Beckett (71 mins)