Drury praises ‘well-deserved’ FA Cup win

Paul Bastock collects the ball. Photo: Geoff Atton.
Paul Bastock collects the ball. Photo: Geoff Atton.

Graham Drury is in no doubt that the right team booked their place in the FA Cup’s second qualifying round round.

Goals from Jevani Brown, Sam Mulready, Tom Batchelor and Jordan Smith saw the Daniels defeat St Neots Town in their replay at the Zeeco Stadium on Tuesday night.

The result has set up a tasty tie at Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One (South) rivals Gresley, the conquerers of Deeping Rangers, a week on Saturday.

“It was a good performance and well deserved that we went through,” manager Drury said.

“For a game and a half we were the better side, the only side which deserved to win it.

“We got the job done but I was also happy with the performance.”

The Saints may play a division higher in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division, but Stamford asserted their dominance early on and stormed into a comfortable 3-0 interval lead.

Brown got things under way when he netted in the 17th minute, Mulready doubling that advantage just 11 minutes later. And Batchelor dealt Neots a hammer blow, making it three in the 42nd minute.

Peter Clark gave the away side some faint hope of turning things around when he reduced the arrears nine minutes after ther break.

But Stamford stayed strong, and kept the Saints at bay for the rest of the contest.

If there was any nagging doubts about a comeback, Smith put them to bed on the hour mark, making it four and sending the Daniels fans into dreamland.

“It’s always a great feeling to win a cup match,” Drury continued. “It always gives the boys a lift.

“I remember when I was at Corbya nd we took Kiddy (Kidderminster Harriers) to a replay when they were in the Conference Premier.

“We beat them 4-1 in a replay at our place.

“That was a great feeling and this was just as good.”

The contest also marked the return to action for veteran keeper Paul Bastock who has been sidelined following a shoulder operation.

Jevani Brown’s 68th-minute spot kick earned Stamford an FA Cup replay on Saturday.

Hosts St Neots had taken the lead 15 minutes earlier through Declan Rodgers, forcing a loose ball home.

But as the Daniels pushed on for the all-important leveller, John King was fouled in the penalty area and Brown confidently swept home the vital equaliser.

The Saints had the first chance of the game as Tom Spark closed down a clearance and saw his effort smash against the post.

The hosts had further chances to open the scoring in the first half as Peter Clark’s shot was blocked and James Hall saw his strike saved by Peter Denton.

But Graham Drury’s side also put in a good account of themselves.

Sam Mulready, in for the injured Ryan Robbins, saw a curler deflected wide, while Brown saw an effort sail wide of the target.

The second half saw the Saints take the lead.

Denton did well to save Spark’s shot but he could only parry the ball into the path of Declan Rodgers, who slotted into the empty net.

Stamford rang out the changes, with Bell and Sam Mulready replaced by King and Elliot Sandy.

Just four minutes later John King was tugged back in the box and Stamford were handed a way back into the match.

Brown put the penalty away confidently, sending his opponent the wrong way.

Sandy, King and Brown all saw efforts beaten away as the Daniels pushed on for a winner.

Paul Malone then saw an effort cleared off the line by Rodgers and Jake Duffy fired over.

But at the death James Hall was presented a chance to put St Neots through, but he failed to hit the target.