Southern League Premier Division
ST NEOTS TOWN 1 SLOUGH TOWN 1
All the drama and tension in this match came in the final three minutes plus a generous addition of added time. Playing against third in the table Slough Town who were bidding to cement their play-off place, St Neots showed the true grit and determination that Manager Matt Clements has instilled to persevere to earn an 87th minute penalty kick coolly dispatched by the in-form Jevani Brown, his “lucky” thirteenth goal in as many starts for the Club. That sparked controversy with a Slough player booked for his protests and the visiting Manager’s protests so voluble that he was shown a straight red card. After a second half dominated by the Saints it seemed that playing out the last few minutes to earn that valuable point was a formality but that was far from the truth. Slough reacted positively pushing everyone forward in a bid to find a winning goal and in the fifth minute of added time Lee Clarke clipped the heels of a player in the penalty area and Referee Anthony Pope pointed dramatically to the other penalty spot. As Saints supporters held their breath Slough substitute James Dobson sent his spot kick high over the bar and the point was safe. The unchanged home team line up thoroughly deserved their point and could have even improved on that had their finishing matched their second half domination but with Cambridge City losing and Hayes and Yeading only picking up a point St Neots stay six points clear of the relegation zone.
The game had got off to a lively start with St Neots back four doing well to contain some pacey attacking notably with the visiting full backs adding width to the visitors’ attack. An early shot by Chris Flood was deflected over the bar but on the break St Neots saw a Micky Hyem shot deflected wide and Jevani Brown’s first effort flashed across the face of goal. A fierce shot by Gavin James was deflected into the air and spiraled down to strike a goalpost before being cleared but after 18 minutes the visitors were ahead when with the ball bobbling around in the penalty area Simon Dunn totally mis-hit a low shot that trickled inside the far post for Slough to go in front. At the other end Jonny Herd beat two defenders to shoot narrowly over the bar and his long throws were causing concern to the visiting defence and from one of those James Tricks was upended but penalty appeals waved away. Just before the break Slough had a period of pressure winning a free kick from Manny Williams that was saved at the second attempt by Archer.
If Slough had finished well before the break they then had to defend well upon the restart as a determined St Neots came back impressively restricting their visitors to break away attacks. In one of those Chris Flood outjumped Archer to win a Webb cross but his header was wide of its target. Tom Knowles was looking lively down either flank and he went around two defenders but fired over the bar and he then set up James Tricks whose shot was blocked by a defender. Slough tried to slow the pace sending on all three permitted substitutes and despite St Neots domination the visitors still looked threatening on the break and from a narrow angle Flood brought an important save from Archer who pushed his fierce drive over the bar. As the half progressed St Neots’ momentum was building and Tricks bamboozled the visiting defence to send a low cross in front of goal with Brown just unable to get that vital touch. Substitute Declan Rogers looked a useful addition to the St Neots attack and it was he who was hauled down by Guy Hollis earning that dramatic penalty goal for Brown. If St Neots seemed relieved by their equalizer they still had to suffer that lengthy spell of added time but they finished with that point and that was their just desert.
St Neots: Archer, Partridge, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Knowles, Bell-Toxtle, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (J)
Subs: Rogers (for Bell-Toxtle 57 mins), Fortnam-Tomlinson (for Knowles 69 mins), Brown (L), Butler and Norman.
Cards: Knowles (Y – 40), Partridge (Y – 43), Wood (Y – 90+4)
Goal: Jevani Brown – pen – (87 mins)
Slough: Walker-Harris, Fraser, Stonehouse,Hollis, Smart, Togwell, Williams, Dunn, James, Flood, Webb
Subs: Dobson (for Williams 52 mins), Bunting (for James 67 mins), Harris (for Webb 74 mins), Nisbet and Putman.
Cards: Smart (Y – 87) plus Manager Jon Underwood (RED – 87)
Goal: Dunn (19 mins)
Referee: Anthony Pope (Braintree)