Tuesday, April 8, 2014
St Neots Town won the Southern League Red Insure Cup when they beat Tiverton Town in the second leg of the final at The Cozy Stadium.
A single goal from the excellent Lewis Hilliard won the trophy for the second consecutive year for St Neots managers Gary King and Zema Abbey who also pulled off the feat while they were in charge of Arlesey Town last season.
A oddity in this day and age, the Red Insure Cup final is a two-legged affair – and three weeks ago, St Neots drew 0-0 at Tiverton Town’s Ladysmead ground.
Zema Abbey, whose goalkeeping brother Nathan is also the assistant manager, said: “For ourselves personally - me, Gary and Nathan – we won it last season and we had the hunger and desire to win it again. The lads have reflected that hunger.
“In the first half for the first 20 minute we had to weather what they threw at us but then we got the goal and rightly so.
“The second half was nervy as it can be at 1-0 and you sometimes find yourselves sat back and defending, but we could have nicked one at the end. But we showed we are a form side at home and in the end that was the difference.”
It took a good 10 minutes for the Saints to find their feet against the team from Devon, who play at one step lower than St Neots in Division One South & West of the Southern League.
But the home side were soon on top and for three minutes at least – and surely more than 30 passes – St Neots were spellbinding as they played the ball around the park. It was quite something to watch.
Though it wasn’t until the 42nd minute that Hilliard struck when he ran onto a through ball and beat the goalkeeper with a sublime touch.
In the second half St Neots were forced to defend a little more than they had done but should have added to their lead with the prolific Shane Tolley surprisingly missing two sitters with others’ chances wayward. Tiverton’s players claimed the ball had cross the line when they went close midway through the second half.
In the end, despite late pressure from the Saints – and a narrow miss from Matty Nolan which should have made it 2-0 – it was still 1-0 on aggregate when the referee called a halt to proceedings.
Abbey said: “When we walked through the door there was one objective and that was to keep our Premier Division status. Once we started making in-roads in that and started progressing in the cup them we put the demands on the players to go out and win it.”