ST NEOTS TOWN 2 BISHOP’S STORTFORD 1
Blues again fell at the first hurdle of the FA Cup as they went down 2-1 at St Neots Town, on Saturday.
The home side were reduced to ten men on the half hour mark as skipper Luke Knight was for a high foul on Jordan Wescott, but a controversial penalty from Dylan Williams gave the Saints a 1-0 lead six minutes before the break.
Jake Cass levelled for the Blue Brazil with a 20 yard shot in the 76th minute but within five minutes the hosts sealed the win when Stortford failed to deliver a cross in quickly enough at one end and were punished on the break with substitute Douglas tapping home from five yards.
To rub salt into the visitors’ wounds, substitute Chi Osadebe was dismissed for dissent after the final whistle.
ST NEOTS TOWN 2 BISHOP’S STORTFORD 1
Adam Flint’s side showed a few changes to that which had lost against Folkestone Invicta. Both Jamie Cureton and Toyosi Olusanya were on the bench whilst Jordan Lawal was cup-tied. Coming into the starting eleven were Jack Thomas, Elliott Ronto and Ryan Charles. The home side included former Stortford favourite Johnny Herd in their ranks.
Saints began the quicker of the two sides and a long throw into the box from the left by Herd in the fourth minute saw Taylor Parr back-header met by Harry O’Malley’s whose shot struck the inside of Calum Kitscha’s right-hand post before being cleared.
In windy conditions Stortford struck back in the 10th minute with a deep Ronto free-kick headed narrowly over at the back post by Cass.
Seven minutes later Dion Sembie-Ferris drove wide from just inside the box after a quick break set up by Tom Wood’s long pass forward.
However few openings were created by either side until an overhead kick from Cass cleared the bar and on the half-hour when forcing the first Blues corner Alfie Mason’s delivery was headed by Lance Akins just wide at the far post.
Almost immediately, close to the halfway line, Wescott was left on the ground with a torn shirt by Knight’s high challenge which left referee little option but to send off the home captain. This incident set the tone for the rest of the tie with tempers not far from the surface.
Cass was close with a low drive past an upright in the 36th minute but three minutes later Stortford went behind to a debateable penalty. Williams sent Claudio Ofuso away down the left flank and when the Saints player cut inside just inside the area he was judged by referee Pope to have been brought down by the challenging Johnville Renee. The Blues defender looked to have won the ball but a penalty was given and Williams gave Kitscha no chance from the spot,
On the restart Stortford began well and had the ball into the net following a Ronto corner but the goal was disallowed for a foul on keeper Harry Reynolds and shortly afterwards Charles, receiving the ball from Cass on the right, struck a deflected shot that Reynolds, making a fine save, turned for a corner.
At the other end a deflected rising shot from Parr following a Herd corner was just off target. Charles had a drive deflected for a corner during a period of substitutions by both sides.
Stortford’s equaliser arrived in the 76th minute. Jordan Wescott’s free-kick from just inside the St Neots half found its way to Johnville Renee on the right and when he played the ball inside to Cass the striker fired a great shot past Reynolds into the top near-side corner of the net,
Three minutes later Charles hooked the ball over the bar from close range following a goalmouth scramble but then Stortford conceded a second, and what proved to be winning, goal for the hosts in the 82nd minute.
A long pass out from defence to the right wing by Matt Miles wasn’t cut out by Lance Akins and Dion Sembie-Ferris raced away before crossing the ball into the middle where substitute Kasey Douglas, who had only been on the pitch a minute, easily side-footed home.
A Wescott free-kick three minutes from the end of normal time was just too high forOsadebe to get his head to and in Stortford’s last attack of the tie when Cureton whipped the ball in from the left towards the six yard box both Osadebe and Wescott had shots blocked with Wescott’s looking to hit a hand but nothing was given.
STORTFORD: Calum Kitscha; Johnville Renee; Chris Gregan (Chi Osadebe 86); Jack Thomas; Lance Akins; Sam Robbins; Alfie Mason (Toyosi Olusanya 68); Jordan Wescott; Jake Cass; Elliott Ronto (Jamie Cureton 63); Ryan Charles.
Unused substitutes: Damien Green, Toib Adeyemi, Max Brassington and Freddie Oakman
ST NEOTS TOWN: Harry Reynolds; Matt Miles; Johnny Herd; Luke Knight; Tom Wood; Taylor Parr; Dion Sembie-Ferris; Harry O’Malley; Gary Wharton (Jack Keeble 71); Dylan Williams (Devante Stanley 65); Claudio Ofuso (Kasey Douglas 80).
Unused substitute: Dan Olaniran
Referee: Anthony Pope