NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Another fantastic FA Cup fightback earns St Neots Town a replay
- Credit: Archant
Not even Steven Spielberg can compete with St Neots Town when it comes to creating drama.
Matt Clements’ men wrote another exciting chapter in their FA Cup story last Saturday when producing a rousing finish to force a third qualifying round replay.
Saints were on the brink of bowing out of the famous competition when trailing 2-0 to fellow Southern League Premier Division side Coalville Town with less than 10 minutes to go.
But Clements’ side, who had seen several chances go begging against a visiting side reduced to 10 men, clearly hadn’t read that script as they battled back to level at 2-2.
Tom Wood launched another famous FA Cup fightback – just as he had against Romulus in the previous round when Saints came from 3-0 down to triumph 4-3 – with a wonderful strike from long range with seven minutes to go.
And Nabil Shariff was then in the right place at the right time to nod in a dramatic equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time after goalkeeper Harry Reynolds launched a desperate final ball into the Coalville box.
“It was another fantastic comeback,” said Clements. “One that I would have to rank as being better than what we did in the last round against Romulus due to the standard of the opposition.
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“I did fear it was not going to be our day as we missed so many good chances, but we kept going forward relentlessly and got the goals in the end.
“I promised anyone who came to the game they would be entertained and that was most definitely the case.”
The vast majority of an excellent 518 attendance probably didn’t enjoy the first half too much as Coalville were much the better side. Their dominance was eventually rewarded when Tim Berridge buried a Steve Towers free-kick nine minutes before half-time.
Saints were grateful not to be much further behind at the break and they received another boost eight minutes into the second half when Coalville man Scott McManus was sent off after kicking out at Taylor Parr.
But Clements’ side saw their deficit double when the 10 men struck again 10 minutes later as Daniel Creaney tucked away another Towers set-piece.
Saints responded by going on the attack and they eventually got their rewards during a nail-biting, heart-stopping climax to earn a replay tomorrow night (Tuesday).
And success at Coalville will secure a trip to National League North side Alfreton in the fourth qualifying round on October 20.