PROUD Eaton Socon boss Neville Cooper paid tribute to his players after they bowed out of the Hunts Senior Cup at the semi-final stage following defeat against their illustrious neighbours St Neots on Saturday.

PROUD Eaton Socon boss Neville Cooper paid tribute to his players after they bowed out of the Hunts Senior Cup at the semi-final stage following defeat against their illustrious neighbours St Neots on Saturday.

"We did ourselves proud as they've beaten better teams than us by bigger scores," said Cooper.

"They also showed us a lot of respect by putting out what was their strongest team available.

"We set our stall out, tried to be hard to beat and could have possibly nicked one or two on the break ourselves, had we taken our chances.

"But everyone come off the park knackered and that's all you can ask."

On the condition of neck injury victim Tom Mills, Cooper said: "They let him out of hospital on Sunday after keeping him in overnight - and he can't have any contact sport now for four to six weeks.

"To be fair to Claire Houston (St Neots sports injury therapist), she wasn't taking any chances after he said there was some pain in his neck.

"She did right and did us proud really."

Saints manager Dennis Greene picked out midfielder Junior Kanuda as the difference between the two sides.

He said: "Junior was fabulous. He was out there in the mud with his moulded boosts, twisting and turning and they couldn't get near him.

"He scored a cracking goal but that's Junior. He's fantastic, he's unplayable."

With crucial league games coming up, few would have expected Greene to field such a strong team for the fixture, but the Neots gaffer says there was good reason for doing so.

"We want to get our momentum back," he said.

"The recent performances haven't been as good as they were in the first half of the campaign, so it was a case of keeping the team together for continuity.

"Keeping a clean sheet was also key going into some crucial league fixtures coming up.

"We totally dominated the game, and could certainly have scored more, with better finishing or better crossing.

"But we were never in any danger of losing the game.

"It would have been nice to get more goals but, credit to Socon, they stuck at it."