NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: ‘Roy of the Rovers’ stuff as St Neots Town pull off incredible FA Cup comeback
- Credit: Archant
St Neots Town produced the ultimate FA Cup comeback yesterday.
Matt Clements’ men were staring at an embarrassing elimination after conceding three times in the opening 17 minutes of a second qualifying round tie against lower-level Romulus at the Premier Plus Stadium.
But Saints dragged themselves back into the contest before snatching a fairytale 4-3 victory thanks to a last-gasp winner from Dion Sembie-Ferris in the third minute of stoppage time.
It was a goal which sparked wild celebrations from players and fans alike as they completed their very own version of the great escape to pocket £9,000 in prize money and progress into the third qualifying round for the first time in 40 years.
And there’s no doubt this success will be remembered for many years to come with Clements describing it as the ‘best feeling’ of his Saints reign.
“It’s Roy of the Rovers stuff and the magic of the FA Cup,” said Clements.
“To lift ourselves back into the game and then win it in the way we did was exceptional.
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“It has to go down as one of the best and most emotional moments of my sporting career – and it couldn’t have happened with a better club with so many good people behind the scenes who deserved this result.
“It would have been a lot easier had we not been sloppy and wasteful at times, but we dug deep, made our own luck and won the game in a way we’ll never forget.”
Saints got off to a nightmare start when Mitch Piggon put Romulus ahead and it went from bad to worse as the visitors bagged two further goals.
Josh Willis doubled the lead when rising unchallenged to head in a Kris Taylor after just seven minutes and a carbon copy third followed when Luke Richards’ met another Taylor flag-kick with a powerful header.
The theme of headed goals from corners continued as Saints responded with Tom Wood getting the telling touch to a Matt Miles delivery after 20 minutes, but they still found themselves trailing by two goals with a quarter-of-an-hour to go with hopes of a fightback fading fast.
But, boy, did that change during an unforgettable climax.
Dion Sembie-Ferris took another chunk out of Saints’ arrears in the 78th minute when producing a fine finish into the far corner and they were level when Johnny Herd fired in with five minutes to go after a Miles cross was deflected into his path.
But it was left to Sembie-Ferris to provide the final chapter to a stunning FA Cup story as he converted a Nabil Shariff cross to spark unforgettable scenes.