Football: Town pay penalty as United progress
Hunts Senior Cup Quarter-Finals Needingworth United 3, St Ives Town 3 (AET) Needingworth won 3-1 on pens. NEEDINGWORTH manager, Paul Taylor, hailed the all-round performance of his side as they disposed of UCL high-fliers St Ives to book their place
Hunts Senior Cup Quarter-Finals
Needingworth United 3, St Ives Town 3 (AET)
Needingworth won 3-1 on pens.
NEEDINGWORTH manager, Paul Taylor, hailed the "all-round performance" of his side as they disposed of UCL high-fliers St Ives to book their place in the last four of the Senior Cup.
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The United boss paid special tribute to 17-year-old Olly Verrall and the experienced Mike Kay, who were instrumental in the hosts' success on Saturday.
"It was a fantastic game for the neutral and I think we deserved it after two hours of football. Young Olly Verrall defended really well and Mike Kay also had a fantastic game," said Taylor.
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St Ives assistant manager, Jez Hall, had few complaints with the result.
"We were pretty woeful and the Needingworth lads did themselves proud. We wish them good luck and hope they overcome Ortonians in the semi-final," said Hall.
Needingworth started brightly, denying Town any time or space on the ball and they went close early on when Simon Short pulled the ball back from the touchline, but Kay flashed his shot wide.
At the other end, Liam Kennet had St Ives' best chance of the half but fired over from 20 yards. The home side got the breakthrough after Verrall's 25 yard free kick flew into the bottom corner. The lead was nearly doubled five minutes later but Steve Robson's goalbound effort was deflected behind by Steve Poore.
The second half was real end-to-end stuff and St Ives equalised when yongster Glen Thrale hit a spectacular 30 yard strike.
This seemed to inspire Town and they went ahead when Kennett volleyed home from an acute angle.
Needingworth weren't to be denied and a great move involving four players was finished off by Mike Kay's shot from the corner of the box to send the game into a period of extra-time.
As the players tired more, gaps were there to be exploited and United struck in the first period. Scott Fielding's header was well saved by Aaron Bannie but Joe Thompson was first to react to smash home the rebound.
This looked like winning the tie but with 10 minutes left, Anton D'Aviliar scrambled the ball home to ensure a penalty shoot out.
United kept their nerve superbly and with Benton saving the first St Ives effort and the next two Town penalties both hitting the woodwork, Joyce and Verrall buried their efforts so it was left to Nick Mead to smash home the winning penalty and book the semi-final date with Ortonians.
St Neots Town 3, Huntingdon Town 2
FAVOURITES St Neots booked a home semi-final with Woodlands, but found lower grade rivals Huntingdon a tougher nut to crack than expected.
It looked plain sailing for the Saints early on with Simon Claridge giving them a second minute lead and Nicky Hurst doubling the advantage 20 minutes later.
Six minutes later Paul Nevill replied for Huntingdon but 10 minutes before the break, player-manager Steve Kuhne restored the home side's margin with another close range goal from a corner.
The only goal of the second half was a Paul Bass penalty for Huntingdon, but it arrived in the final minute and came too late to give the underdogs a chance of a comeback.