St Ives oust St Neots to book Hunts Senior Cup final place

ST IVES Town will meet Godmanchester Rovers in the final of the Hunts Senior Cup after beating St Neots Town at the Hunts Post Community Stadium on Tuesday night.

The United Counties League Premier Division side dominated the slightly weakened St Neots team that manager Dennis Greene had fielded – and the star of the show was their 19-year-old striker Conor Washington, who scored a magnificent second-half goal in the 2-0 win.

Washington, who obviously enjoyed playing on the bowling-green pitch, beat the St Neots’ defence for pace and chipped the oncoming goalkeeper from the right side of the 18-yard box – with the ball landing in the back of the net at the far corner.

It was a stunning goal.

“Conor’s something special,” said St Ives’ joint manager Jez Hall. “It was an immense performance from all 14 of them really – it had to be to get anything out of it. They did us proud; it was like a Vase performance.

“They enjoyed playing on that pitch, we like to play on a good surface and I thought everybody worked really hard.”

Stuart Cobb got the ball rolling in the fifth minute, bundling in a corner with his knee, but for the remainder of the first half the visitors had to be on their guard as St Neots rallied.

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Junior Konadu was especially good in the centre of the park – but he lacked support from a team that was made up mostly of second-string players. Dan Jacob was a threat and Lewis Webb worked hard in midfield, while at the back Rene Steer played at right back.

Greene’s team selection was in sharp contrast to Hall and Warren Everdell’s: despite saying they might give a few of their younger squad members a go in the run up to the game, the St Ives pair named a full strength side with only the injured duo of Will Fordham and Lee Ellison missing from the teamsheet.

Not that goalkeeper Niall Conroy-Owen didn’t have anything to do, he played a blinder to keep St Neots out making at least three impressive saves in the second half – before and after Washington had doubled the lead with his outstanding strike.

“Niall was fantastic,” agreed Hall. “We knew that the goalkeeper and defence had to have a good game and they all did – and that’s one of the main reasons why we will meet Goddy in may.”

Godmanchester won their place in the final on Saturday when they beat Ramsey Town 3-2 in a dramatic game at Bearscroft Lane.

The venue of the final is yet to be decided by Hunts FA, but both Hall and Goddy’s joint manager Nev Nania want to play that one at the Hunts Post Community Stadium.

“It’s right at the end of the season so it’s nice to have something to look forward to. I have always found, over the years I have been doing it, it is important to have something to look forward to.”