FA YOUTH CUP

Kettering Town 0 St Neots Town 2

ST Neots Town's under-18s made it through to the third qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup for the first time with a well deserved 2-0 win over Kettering at Nene Park.

A goal in each half was enough to secure the win which came courtesy of a solid all-round team performance with the Saints defence especially on form.

While not at full strength, they could have won by a larger margin.

The home side had the better of the opening 25 minutes but the Saints worked hard to keep themselves in the contest.

Stefan Gatting spurned Kettering's first real chance shooting wide and then Jack Mitchell saved well from Ryan Finnegan. Oliver Jones volleyed wide and Mitchell did well to produce a one-handed save to deny Lewis Wood's strong header.

This rearguard action seemed to boost the visitors' confidence and they had the better of the final 15 minutes of the first half. They went ahead on 28 minutes when Ryan Whittingham went around the outside of his marker but was pulled down on the bye line. Ryan Sharman confidently tucked away the penalty kick.

Chae Simons could twice have extended the lead before the break but Domenico Roggero twice denied him with excellent saves.

St Neots began the second half the same way they had finished the first: Simons beat two defenders with his pace but Roggero came out to save at his feet; and then the lively Ryan Whittingham turned well to send a shot just inches over the bar.

The best set piece of the match produced the all-important second goal. A teasing free kick by Jamie Massey saw Simons sprint diagonally into the penalty area to get in front of the defenders to flick an accurate header inside the near post.

With Max Harradine and man of the match Sam Spencer firmly in control at the back St Neots were able to slow the game down after that. Ryan Whittingham almost claimed a third goal but his volley looped over the bar.

The Saints now travel to either Soham Town or Woodbridge Town for a place in the competition's first round proper.