NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Neots Town see red in FA Trophy exit
PUBLISHED: 00:56 16 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:09 16 November 2016
St Neots Town had three players sent off as they crashed out of the FA Trophy on an extraordinary night that will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons.
Saints finished with only eight men when going down 4-2 to Marine after extra-time in a second round replay at the Premier Plus Stadium.
They had Tom Wood dismissed for collecting a second caution after kicking the ball away with 18 minutes of normal time to go before full-back Miles Smith and substitute Tom Ward received their marching orders following a flare-up deep into the second period of extra-time.
Smith was shown a second yellow card while Ward was given a straight red by referee Tom Bishop.
Saints were still level at that point but succumbed to two stoppage time goals at the end of extra-time from Marine men Michael Monaghan and Daniel Mitchley.
The night of shame also made it a total of five sending offs in the tie for Saints - and nine in a season which is only just three months old - following the red cards for Sam Mulready and Nassim L’Ghoul when the teams drew 1-1 last Saturday in their initial meeting in Liverpool.
They traded goals in the space of four minutes during the first half of the replay.
Saints hit the front after 15 minutes through a deflected Declan Rogers blast, but Adam Hughes soon headed Marine level.
Saints were ahead again seven minutes into the second period when Mulready provided a fitting finish a slick passing exchange involving James Hall and Peter Clark.
They survived a scare as Marine frontman Kurt Sherlock squandered a glorious chance before Rogan McGeorge was perfectly placed to make a vital goal-line clearance.
But the dismissal of Wood, who had been the saviour 72 hours earlier with a late equaliser to set up the replay, left Saints up against it and Marine needed only five minutes to level.
A rash McGeorge challenge, which earned him one of the many cautions handed out by official Bishop, was further punished by a high-class Robbie Threlfall free-kick strike.
Saints held on with 10 men to reach extra time but eventually lost their cool and were condemned to a Trophy exit as a result - missing out on more than £3,000 in prize money and the potential money-spinner of a trip to well-supported National League North high-fliers Darlington in the next round.