Seven goals and three red cards as St Neots Town come through FA Cup thriller

Tom Meechan struck twice to help St Neots Town to FA Cup success. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES.

Tom Meechan struck twice to help St Neots Town to FA Cup success. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES. - Credit: Archant

St Neots seized their second chance to power to FA Cup success on a night of high drama.

Town swept to a 5-2 success at lower-level Tilbury in a re-staged first qualifying round tie last night which also produced three red cards.

A Football Association investigation had found St Neots guilty of inadvertently playing an ineligible player when the sides first clashed in a 1-1 stalemate 10 days earlier, but they made the most of their reprieve to advance.

A Connor Hall strike and Tom Meechan penalty put them in control inside half-an-hour despite the loss of Mat Mitchel-King to injury.

Goalkeeper Danny Gay saved a penalty late in the first half before St Neots had defender Jamie Anton dismissed early in the second period.

Tilbury halved their arrears with 18 minutes to go but then had two players red-carded before Town sealed their passage courtesy of a flurry of late goals.

Ryan Hawkins struck with five minutes to go only for Tilbury to reply almost immediately after a gaffe from Gay, but a second Meechan effort and substitute Dan Hobbs’ effort clinched victory.

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St Neots’ reward is a home tie against Worthing in the second qualifying round this Saturday.

St Ives Town are the other local survivors in the competition. They take on Harlow Town at ProEdge Westwood Road.

Two St Neots teams are in action tonight. The Saints go to Stamford side Blackstones in United Counties League Division One while the Under 18s travel to Desborough in the first qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup.