HUNTINGDONSHIRE SENIOR CUP ROUND ONE Godmanchester 0 St Neots 1 ST NEOTS defender Gary Watts grabbed a vital cup goal on Saturday in his first start for town since being out injured with a broken leg. His goal from a set piece saw Town avert a potential s
HUNTINGDONSHIRE SENIOR CUP ROUND ONE
Godmanchester 0 St Neots 1
ST NEOTS defender Gary Watts grabbed a vital cup goal on Saturday in his first start for town since being out injured with a broken leg.
His goal from a set piece saw Town avert a potential slip up against Godmanchester Rovers in the first round of the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup.
Watts, named in the starting line up for the first time after his long lay off through a broken leg, scored his first goal since March 2006.
Godmanchester had started brightly despite injuries - Rovers' manager Karly Hurst was forced to play outfield player Stephen Hurst as an emergency goalkeeper.
However, they made lives difficult for themselves, giving away a series of free kicks - nine in the first 20 minutes - and eventually had Jon Brierley sent off in the second half.
The St Neots win also came at a price. Just past the half hour mark, the inspirational defender Tony Russell was helped off with a hamstring injury that could sideline him for at least month.
His absence after 30 minutes of play was felt in the Town defence, and the display from St Neots was not convincing. The team did not play well. Godmanchester had better possession throughout but failed to beat Jon Chatfield who kept his first clean sheet of the season.
It was Russell who helped ensure this in his half-hour spell on the pitch, performing a great recovery tackle on Godmanchester's Lee Boon.
When Town eventually settled down, they started to play better football.
In the second half, Steve Kuhne brought a full length save from Stephen Hurst which resulted in a corner and the winning goal.
The set piece, taken by Mark Franklin, was met by Watts who headed home in the 65th minute.
Godmanchester's makeshift keeper then kept his side in the game, pushing out a stinging free kick by Chris Garwell for another corner.
However, Godmanchester were soon down to 10 men. Brierley booked after 34 minutes for a deliberate trip on Franklin whose pace had taken him clear, got his marching orders in the second half. Town substitute Arin Fehmi was posing a few problems for Godmanchester when he was hacked down by Brierley, earning him his second yellow card and an early bath.
Home manager Hurst said: "The dismissal was fair but didn't affect our play, we competed from the start and with more composed finishing could have caused an upset."
Godmanchester's best chance of the match, came from a quick break. Steve Thompson fed the unmarked Paul Bass who found Lee Boon but Chatfield blocked the close range shot with his feet. Chatfield pulled off another save from Bass - neither side were decisive enough in front of goal.
The home side created more chances one which required keeper Chatfield to produce the save of the match, this time from a Thompson volley.
St Neots might have had a second goal when a Ryan Francis effort was headed off the line by Rob Stamper but that would have given the visitors a flattering margin over a spirited Godmanchester side.