NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Same two teams but a very different outcome as St Neots Town gain high-scoring Hunts Senior Cup revenge against holders Eynesbury Rovers
- Credit: Archant
This is what you call revenge . . .
St Neots Town lifted the Hunts Senior Cup four the first time in four years last night (Wednesday) by putting neighbours Eynesbury Rovers to the sword.
Matt Clements’ men roared to a 6-1 success on their own Premier Plus Stadium turf to erase the memory of a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the same opponents in the 2016/17 showpiece.
Last season they were shambolic and embarrassed - last night they were sensational and ecstatic as they racked up the biggest margin of victory in the final of this competition for more than 50 years.
A Football League team may well have struggled to live with their slick, quick attacking play so Eynesbury of the United Counties League had little chance of doing so.
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Rovers boss Mark Ducket was nothing but honest in his post-match assessment. ‘Men against boys’ is how he described the county showpiece . . . it wasn’t even that close in the first half.
Eynesbury barely had a touch of the ball before finding themselves two goals down.
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Nabil Shariff’s fourth-minute opener was quickly followed by a second Saints goal from Dylan Williams. Two smart strikes provided ruthless end products to two dangerous moves and set the tone for the evening.
Fine work from Rovers goalkeeper Aaron Butcher and a raised flag from the assistant referee - to rule out another Shariff goal for offside - kept Eynesbury in the contest - just.
Ducket’s side fluffed a glorious chance to gain a better footing when Jordan Brown, once of St Neots, could only fire a terrific opportunity straight at Saints goalkeeper George Bugg after being released by Hayden Bream.
It was a big moment which looked even more crucial when Tom Wood was allowed a free header to put away a Williams corner and extend Saints’ lead two minutes before the break.
Barely 60 seconds later another dashing move from the hosts ended with Shariff beating Butcher only to see his curling finish strike a post.
It mattered little in all honesty with the match all but won. Eynesbury trudged off at half-time in need of a miracle - they merely got more of the same in the second period.
Saints kept the pedal pressed firmly to the metal and had to wait only four minutes for another goal as player-coach David Bridges got in on the act.
The elusive and impressive Williams was again the supply line for that effort before delivering further punishment with a fifth goal himself when giving a Wood cross the header finish it deserved to register his 17th goal of the campaign.
That proved to be the last contribution for Saints’ leading scorer as he was replaced having been involved in a flare-up moments earlier that led to him being cautioned alongside Rovers defender Curtis Hartley.
Had Williams not been sacrificed he would have had a golden opportunity to complete a hat-trick from the penalty spot just after the hour as Rovers defender Jack Uttridge handled while attempting to deal with a cross.
Johnny Herd stepped up in Williams’ absence and saw his effort kept out by Butcher at full-stretch, but the ball was in the Eynesbury net again six minutes later as they completed a six-goal haul with Bridges applying the finishing touch to a Shariff flick.
To their credit, Eynesbury did not capitulate - physically or mentally - and were rewarded with a late consolation goal.
Half-time arrival Craig Smith pounced to force the ball in from point-blank range after Liam McDevitt inadvertently steered a Brown cross against his own crossbar.
The loss of a clean sheet will have provided minor irritation for Saints on a night when their attacking devastation was a joy to watch.
Twelve months is clearly a long time in football.
St Neots Tn: George Bugg, Tom Wood (sub Jack Bradshaw), Johnny Herd, Liam McDevitt, Taylor Parr, Dylan Williams (sub Scott Sinclair), Luke Knight, David Bridges, Jordan Norville-Williams (sub Stefan Broccoli), Dion Sembie-Ferris, Nabil Shariff. Unused subs: Kyran Wiltshire, Jonny Butler.
Eynesbury Rovers: Aaron Butcher, Matt Miles, Curtis Hartley, James Ducket, Jack Uttridge, Rob Ducket, Danny Draper, Jack Warwick, Hayden Bream (sub Craig Smith), Jordan Brown, James Tricks. Unused subs: Matt Clifford, Luis Vieira, Cavan King.
Referee: Ashley List.