St Neots seal place in Hunts Senior Cup final with win over St Ives
- Credit: Archant
St Neots eased into the Hunts Senior Cup final with 2-0 win over Huntingdonshire rivals St Ives on Tuesday evening.
Persistent rain in the days before the match made the pitch heavy and both sides struggled to get going on a heavily-sanded surface.
But goals from Nabil Shariff and Dylan Williams ensured Matt Clements’s side booked their place in the showpiece final as St Ives were left to rue a missed opportunity at landing some silverware.
There was a cautious start by both sides as they sought to come to terms with the conditions. The first attempt of note on goal did not arrive until the 15th minute when Luke Knight was fouled on the edge of the area and Dylan Williams’ free kick was comfortably saved by Lewis Todd.
St Ives came within a whisker of taking the lead just shy of the half-hour mark when former St Neots midfielder Peter Clark hit a shot from outside the box that bounced off the far post into the grateful arms of Finlay Iron.
However, just a minute later, the visitors took the lead as a flighted pass from skipper Luke Knight freed Scott Sinclair wide right and his inch-perfect cross fed Shariff tonet.
Todd saved a low Johnny Herd shot amongst a sea of boots and six minutes before the break Shariff should have extended the lead, but he shot wide after great play by Williams.
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Two minutes later another Shariff effort was deflected to earn a corner which was not cleared and, from the edge of the area, Williams hit a low shot past Todd with the aid of a slight deflection.
St Ives danger man Tom Knowles was being kept quiet by Herd and he sent two free kicks in dangerous positions into the visitors’ defensive wall. The home side sent on substitute Phil Draycott in the second half in a bid to boost their attack but with Taylor Parr and Liam McDevitt in commanding form for St Neots, they made little progress.
Danny Watson spurned one chance after neat work by Rogan McGeorge and St Neots should have sealed the victory when Dylan Williams was brought down by a defender, but he sent the keeper the wrong way from the resultant penalty kick which hit the crossbar.