FA Cup St Neots Town 2 Lincoln United 3
SAINTS bowed out of the FA Cup, losing to a higher ranked team but rueing a series of missed chances that they should have secured at St Neots at least a replay. The Rowley Park team managed to claw their way back into the game after finding themselves 3
SAINTS bowed out of the FA Cup, losing to a higher ranked team but rueing a series of missed chances that they should have secured at St Neots at least a replay.
The Rowley Park team managed to claw their way back into the game after finding themselves 3-0 down, but just failed to find the equaliser.
Saints left it late to stage their fight back - they found themselves 3-0 adrift with less than 25 minutes remaining.
If it had not been for the form of the visiting keeper - and some weak finishing from the St Neots' players - the match could have ended level.
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Saints manager Marvin Johnson said: "You don't deserve much from a game if you give away three goals but in fairness to my lads, they kept going and a draw would have been a fair result."
Both sides began slowly with much of the play in the middle of the park and it wasn't until the ninth minute that the first attempt on goal was made. Luke Knight, fully 25 yards out, tried his luck but the ball flew wide.
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This seemed to shake the visitors into action and three minutes later they took the lead when Gary Walters wrong footed the defence and beat Jon Chatfield with a well placed shot.
Luigi Rocco hit back for the Saints and forced a good save from Ziccardi in the Lincoln goal, but the visitors seemed to be dominating in most areas of the pitch.
Chatfield made a good save from Porter, but with the defence in disarray Sam Wilkinson was on hand to net the rebound.
The home side finally began to look a potent force and Matt Kenneford was unlucky not to score before Ken McElroy whipped in a cross that could have ended in the net, and Kenneford and Rocco both went close as the first half came to an end.
Saints started the second period with Ben Webster replacing Chatfield who was unwell, but the team carried on from where they had finished the first half. Declan Rogers broke through the Lincoln defence only to see his effort rebound from the post. Knight also had another effort beaten away for a corner.
On the hour Kenneford and Rogers were replaced by Peter Okechukwu and James Hall - and Hall had an immediate impact when his cross was scrambled away.
However, against the run of play, Saints conceded a controversial third goal. Steve Dogbe was clearly fouled in the build up that saw Wilkinson on hand to net, despite a fine save by Webster.
Two minutes later, Saints won a penalty as Rocco's cross was handled in the box. Unfortunately Knight's powerfully struck shot hit the diving Ziccardi's legs and was cleared away.
The good sized crowd could be forgiven for thinking this was not going to be Saints day but they kept going forward and were rewarded with 11 minutes to go when Hall crossed from the left and "Pistol Pete" Okechuwu reacted quickly to lob the ball home.
A minute later Hall may have added the second, but another quick break from a Lincoln corner saw him make amends with another cross which saw Okechukwu score his second.
In a frantic finale the striker nearly scored again and urged on by the crowd, Saints finished the game on top and should have equalised when deep into extra time Jon Hoggett and Hall both missed chances.