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The lack of clinical finishing costs Saints dear in opening day defeat

Saturday, 12 August 2017 18:51

Southern League Premier Division     

ST NEOTS TOWN        0          FARNBOROUGH        1

Farnborough returned home delighted with their opening day Step Three victory over St Neots as they look to continue their climb back up the pyramid.  It was tightly fought match with St Neots just shading both possession and chances but their finishing was not good enough.   Neither keeper was seriously extended and the two sides looked very evenly matched but the visitors took full points because having gone in front in the first half they defended with determination – especially late in the second half.   St Neots were without three probable starters – new signings Liam McDevitt and Luke Knight were both nursing pre-season knocks and full back Johnny Herd is still on his honeymoon.   Manager Matt Clements must now work on his side’s sharpness in front of goal because they threw away points they deserved at least to share because of their weakness in this area.   St Neots have now only won once on the opening day in their six seasons in the Southern League Premier Division.

The match got off to a lively start with play moving from end to end but early chances were at a premium.   Matt Foy did have a shot blocked on the line by Courtney Fearn after good work by Ryan Horne and at the other end Josh Huggins was left unmarked at a Nic Ciardini corner but he headed tamely wide.   Then Farnborough went ahead from the first real chance of the match.   The goal was created by some skillful work down the right at full back John Oyenuga went past his opposite number to pull the ball back from the bye line.   Matt Bunyan completely missed his kick but the ball fell to the feet of Nic Ciardini and he beat Mike Emery with a crisp shot from 20 yards.   St Neots hit back with Lee Clarke heading down a cross to the feet of Dylan Williams but his shot hit visiting goalkeeper Liam Stone as he dived the wrong way!   Stone then distinguished himself with a fine save from a low effort by Foy and the same St Neots player then upended as he made for goal earning a booking for Matt Bunyan.   Dylan Williams saw a shot blocked and ten minutes before the break St Neots best first half effort saw a Scott Sinclair free kick headed down by Taylor Parr but Micky Hyem skied his shot well over the bar.

‘More of the same but better finishing’ must have been St Neots half time instructions and in the first ten minutes after the break they took the game to their visitors with Danny Watson delaying a shot that was blocked and then from a Williams corner, Watson shot wide when he should have at least tested the keeper.   Another Williams corner found the head of Taylor Parr whose effort was deflected for a corner and the only threat from the visitors came after 65 minutes from Keith Emmerson but Emery saved well at the second attempt.   Watson was replaced by recent signing Kyran Wiltshire and after 74 minutes Taylor Parr attempted an agile overhead kick from a corner but it was too high.    With Lee Clarke and Micky Hyem now pushed up to lead St Neots attack they redoubled their attacking approach with Farnborough happy to filter back and defend.   Williams was on the end of a delightful move involving Jack Bradshaw and Ryan Horne but he shot disappointingly over the bar underlining St Neots frailty in front of goal.   Sinclair pushed into midfield when substitute Harry O’Malley was introduced, looked lively and he saw a low shot well saved by Stone and towards the end St Neots were reduced to shooting from distance with both Bradshaw and Clarke off target.   In the last ten minutes, the visitors were happy to run the clock down with some blatant time wasting tactics and that proved effective as the game petered out.

 

Claire Howes' Match Photo Gallery can be found here: flickr.com/photos/claire_howes/

 

St Neots Town:  Emery, Sinclair, Bradshaw, Horne, Wood, Parr, Foy, Clarke, Watson, Hyem, Williams (D).

Subs:  Wiltshire (for Watson 67), O’Malley (for Foy 76), Williams (A) and Dean

Cards:  none

 

Goals:  none

 

Farnborough:  Stone, Oyenuga, Ciardini, Fearn, Saville, Huggins, Emmerson, Bunyan, Cureton, Coles, Regis.

 

Subs:  Hutchins (for Ciardini 67), Barton (for Cureton 74), Allen and Cairney

 

Cards:   Bunyan (Y – 27 mins)

 

Goals:   Ciardini (16 mins)

 

Attendance: 275

Referee:  Stuart Cheek (Stevenage)

 

 

John Walker

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