Southern League Premier Division
CINDERFORD TOWN 5 ST NEOTS TOWN 2
St Neots lost to bottom of the table side Cinderford thanks in the main to a 24 minutes’ virtuoso first half hat trick by home striker Karnell Chambers. The striker who had previously played National League football with Gloucester City tore the St Neots defence apart with his pace and innovative front running and but for a couple of good save by Alex Archer could have increased that personal contribution. In that disastrous first half, the St Neots defence were woeful. Vulnerable down both flanks and with the two central defenders trying to cover behind the full backs the St Neots goal looked to be at the mercy of the home team every time they went forward. After a distinct tactical change at half time the visitors’ performance improved but when you are three goals behind recovery at this level is very difficult. It was a match, after two consecutive victories, that St Neots could ill-afford to lose and ironically the three points may be of no significance for Cinderford who look doomed to relegation still fourteen points from safety having picked up only seventeen so far this season. Another blow for St Neots was Taylor Parr picking up his fifth yellow card since December 1st and he now misses the next two matches with no obvious central defender in the squad to replace him. The starting line-up saw James Tricks preferred up front to Luke Brown and Harry Norman came in at full back for Jacob Partridge who was not fully fit with Nassim L’Ghoul in for the injured Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson.
Chambers could have opened his account after 45 seconds when he was left unmarked on the left but to St Neots’ relief he shot wide. At the other end home stopper Cameron Clarke had to go full length to push away a low shot from Nassim L’Ghoul but after ten minutes the hosts were in front when Sam Hicks went around his full back and when his shot was deflected the ball fell at the feet of Elliot Ford who netted with a low shot. A minute later in the next attack with the St Neots defence still debating the blame for the first goal Karnell Chambers opened his personal account when he outpaced two defenders and won a chase to the ball on the edge of the area as Archer unsuccessfully tried to beat him to the ball. And it got worse. After 15 minutes St Neots found themselves three goals down when Chambers picked up a Hicks long pass from defence to go on and score with a delicate chip as Archer narrowed his shooting angle. St Neots tried to respond but Fernando Bell-Toxtle shot over the bar after neat work by Micky Hyem and Jevani brown brought a good save from Clarke. However, after 31 minutes St Neots thought they had a lifeline for after a three man move involving Hyem and James Tricks Jevani Brown curled a delightful shot beyond the keeper to make it 3-1. Cinderford then reinstated their three goals advantage ten minutes before the break when the irrepressible Chambers completed his hat trick.
St Neots Manager sacrificed L’Ghoul after the interval to send on Luke Brown - a third striker, and reshaped his team into an attacking 4-3-3 formation. Cinderford cleverly responded pulling their wide players back to soak up the resultant pressure and leaving Chambers up front on his own. Jevani Brown shot narrowly wide and James Tricks saw one header saved and a second skim the crossbar. Archer made a lucky save pouncing on a Chambers shot that rebounded from the woodwork and although St Neots were well on top they failed to carve out clear chances. After 68 minutes, there was a welcome return to the side for leading scorer Declan Rogers who had missed three games through injury and then St Neots slender hopes of a late comeback were snuffed out when in rare Cinderford counter attack Josh Nelmes rose above the St Neots defence to head his sides’ fifth goal after 81 minutes. There was time for Jevani Brown to claim his eighth goal in just nine matches. He will be hoping his future efforts can be boosted by some defensive clean sheets.
St Neots: Archer, Norman (H), Herd, Hill, Wood, Parr, L’Ghoul, Bell-Toxtle, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (J)
Subs: Brown (L) (for L’Ghoul 46 mins), Rogers (for Norman 68 mins), Butler (for Hill (84 mins), Partridge and Dean.
Cards: Parr (Y – 73)
Goals: Jevani Brown 2 (31 & 87 mins)
Cinderford: Clarke, Kelly, Bloom,Nelmes, Clare, Alderdice, Ford, Welch, Norman (C), Chambers, Hicks
Subs: Harrhy (for Norman 73 mins), Moonie (for Ford (78 mins), Parry (for Chambers 84 mins), McConie and Michael.
Cards: Hicks (Y – 86)
Goal: Chambers 3 (11, 15 & 35 mins), Ford (10 mins), Nelmes (81 mins)
Referee: Steven Plane (Tewksbury)