The Saints exited the Macron Cup in the first round after throwing away a two goal lead to visitors Cammell Laird.
The Saints started the game by making a host of changes to the line up which saw starts for Stoker, Walters, Williams, Davies, Plimmer and Ash. Karl Bailey was unavailable and Parker, Melusi, Easthope, Price and Millington where left on the subs bench.
The Saints started strongly and had an early effort after ten minutes but Calum Williams got the finish wrong. Jordy Davies, who looked dangerous all night, crossed for Plimmer on thirteen but couldn’t connect with the header.
On twenty two minutes, more good work from Davies set up Ash but he couldn’t get the finish. On twenty five minutes, Ash did get it right though, cutting in from the left and hitting a shot in the near post. The keeper should of done better in fairness.
The lead was almost short lived, a short corner from Lairds was crossed and headed over. On 36 minutes, Tom Ash should of doubled his talley but the keeper saved his effort but it was short lived as the very next attack saw Davies get down the right and a great delivery to Ash at the back post and he had the simple task of finishing the ball.
Cammell Laird’s skipper picked up a booking and a few tackles started flying in as frustration took over but to their credit, Lairds got themselves back in the game just before half time, a long punt was picked up in the box by the Lairds skipper who faked to shoot, pulled the ball onto his right foot and finished passed Austin.
Half Time St. Martins 2-1 Cammell Lairds
The game was following a very similar path to the league game in August, where we led 2-1 at half time and had a massive opportunity to make it 3-1 early in the second half, in August, Karl Bailey smashed home his chance, In October, Jordy Davies chose to go for goal instead of pulling it back and he shot wide. It proved to be a massive moment in the game. Lairds grew in confidence, the centre half having a 30 yard crack and making Austin pull a sharp save off. On the hour, Davies was in again, but again he could find the right finish for his good play.
Shortly after, Lairds equalised with a well worked goal, long ball out to the left, excellent first touch and cross to the impressive Caleb Jones to finish. Jones then almost put Lairds in the lead but his lobbed effort hit the bar. The Saints responded, Hands hitting a left footed strike from 30 yards to rattle the bar. Both teams going for it, like cup football should be. Price and Easthope were introduced but with 10 minutes remaining, The Saints committed football suicide trying to play out from the back and Jones got his second goal. The Saints had a go in the last ten minutes, Easthope causing trouble and Price having a effort blocked which was a certain goal. With The Saints trying to keep possession and build attacks in the final moment, Austin receive the ball and tried to trick Jones, but he stole the ball and completed his hat trick and saw Lairds into the next round.
All in all, a thrown away game for the Saints, credit to Lairds who battled well but with the changes and the 3rdand 4th goals we conceded, it was not to be. Positives with Ash getting two goals, Davies a MOTM performance, Plimmer getting his first start since his ACL injury (and awarded the Oppo man of the match) and getting Stoker back into the grove after injuries, the squad is looking strong and ready for a tough period of league football coming ahead.