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Vitue the hero as Ressies return with a well fought win

Saturday, 12 August 2017 09:58

Team: St Neots Town FC Reserves

Spartan South Midlands League Division One Fixture: London Lions Away

Date: Wednesday 9th Aug’2017

Wednesday 9th August 2017, was a significant day in St Neots Town FC history as our Reserve Team made their debut in the Spartan South Midlands Division One (step 6). A night to remember for the management and players on many counts, a challenging league standard, extreme conditions, a moment of individual class and heroics in defence resulting in a 1-0 victory against league favourites London Lions.


During the day there were doubts over the pitch conditions but due to London Lions excellent facilities they were able to host the league opener although the wet conditions were borderline postponement standards.


On pre-season reflection, Gearsy and Bish would be the first to admit that preparation could have been better all round, but in the final two weeks everything dropped into place giving the management team good confidence in the squad quality and depth for this season’s opener. With four squad players unavailable due to holiday/work commitments, the team should have healthy competition for places over the open months.


Debutant starting places went to Lapompe, Sells, Minell, Parratt and Brooks in a new look Reserve Team. Parratt showing his senior level experience, making an immediate impact with good movement and hassling the Lions defence, it didn’t take long before he showed his seasoned quality. Nathan Larrier’s through ball put Parratt away down the right wing approaching the corner of the box. The home keeper’s decision to come out to shut the angle proved to be the wrong move, as Parratt coolly chipped him from 25 yards, even the home fans clapping the unpredictable moment of class.

The Lions took our opener as a wakeup call, turning up the pressure and dictating much of the remainder of the half. Saints defence standing strong and organised frustrated the hosts and when they did manage to open up Saints, keeper Alex Vitue was equal to the test. Saints did create a number of chances, Parratt could have doubled the lead when he raced through one on one but shot into the keepers arms. Another great chance came when good work down the Lions right enabled Parratt to cross for fellow debutant Sam Brooks, who could have scored although the pitch conditions did not help the youngsters first touch and finish. The first half finished 1-0, Lion’s taking the ‘Lions share’ of possession and chances, Vitue solid between the sticks and Saints taking their opportunity.

Clearly the Lions had a dressing down at halftime and started the half dictating the play. Saints defensive unit of Vitue, Lapompe, Sells, Ashby and Mitchell were commanding and needed to be on top of their game to secure the clean sheet. At times, Vitue needing to pull out top draw saves to keep the Lions at bay. As the game drew to a close, Lions defence looked exposed and a number of positive breaks forced Lions back to give the Saints’ defence time to catch breath. However, in the 91st minute Saints almost threw their hard work away. Lion’s Keeper drove a huge punt into our right back position and their left winger drove in on goal to be brought down by Lapompe. The offense looked outside the box but referee deemed it inside the area and a penalty was given. Saint’s heads did not drop as Vitue’s game so far had been outstanding, could he cap off a heroic performance?  The Lion’s striker hit a great penalty but it was Vitue’s day, he got down and across fast to block and push the ball to safety. The remaining minutes dragged on and Saints dug in holding out for the referee’s final whistle. It came on 96 minutes, finishing a great landmark day for the team and club, recording our first game and win at Step 6.

London Lions were without out doubt the better team, but a workman like defensive performance, Alex Vitue’s brilliance in goal, along with Dean Parratt’s moment of class means all three points went home with the Saints.


Man of the Match: Alex Vitue


Saints Squad: Vitue, Lapompe, Sells, Minall, Ashby, Mitchell, Larrier, Sincock, Parratt, Brooks, Humphrey, Reece-Brown, Andre, Walsh, Beavis, Cooke


Attendance: 45


Next Game:       12th August - Hatfield Town Away - 3:00pm KO


Venue:                 Gosling Athletics Stadium - Stanborough Rd, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6XE

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