NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Ives Town and St Neots Town stung by late goals in cup exits
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town and St Neots Town both bowed out of the Southern League Challenge Cup on Tuesday night after being stung by late goals.
The two local sides were eliminated in the first round of the competition - and both suffered 2-1 defeats in similar circumstances.
A patched-up St Ives side were seen off by Premier Division Central rivals Needham Market at Westwood Road.
While an early exit from this competition won't live long in the memory for many, it was an occasion that rising star Zac Hope will never forget.
The 16 year-old prospect enjoyed a goalscoring senior debut as he levelled on the half-hour when tucking away a Matt Foy cross.
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Hope's strike cancelled out a Needham Market opener from Joe Neal, but only the woodwork prevented the visitors' from regaining the lead later in the first half as Noah Collard was denied by the crossbar.
Both sides threatened on a regular basis in an entertaining second half with substitute Ollie Snaith blazing St Ives' best chance of a winner over the bar.
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Defender Ben Jackson then pulled off a terrific block to deny Needham Market frontman Callum Page a winner in the final minute.
But it provided only brief respite as the same visiting player then laid on the decisive goal for Luke Ingram in stoppage time.
St Neots were beaten at fellow Division One Central side Yaxley in a contest settled by a last-gasp goal for the hosts.
Marc Abbott's men went ahead on the stroke of half-time as Ben Bradley converted a Mason Rhiney corner to claim his first goal of the season in his first start.
But the advantage proved to be short-lived as Yaxley levelled in the opening minute of the second half through Charley Sanders.
The same Yaxley player squandered two excellent headed chances to put his side ahead while Saints goalkeeper James Philp did superbly to deny Tom Waumsley at full-stretch.
Sam Bennett was denied a second Saints goal at the other end while Panny Boxer and Sam Goode both missed the target with other good chances.
The tie looked destined to be settled on penalties until Yaxley snatched victory in stoppage time courtesy of Joe Butterworth, who struck at the second attempt after his initial effort hit the bar.