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Disappointing display as injuries mount and those first three points still elude us

Sunday, 27 August 2017 13:49

Southern League Premier Division     

ST NEOTS TOWN        1          HEREFORD FC      3                  

The match began with Matt Clements having a full squad to choose from and finished with three of his central defenders needing intensive treatment from physiotherapist Kayleigh-Ann Burt.   Liam McDevitt was injured in the first half, aggravating a previous ankle injury, his replacement Tom Wood was helped off with a severe head gash twenty minutes from time reducing the side to ten men, having utilized all three permitted substitutes, and Taylor Parr was left with a stud injury down his leg.   Now it is a race to see which of these (if any) will be fit for selection for two crucial midweek games at Kettering (league) on Monday and Cambridge City (FA Cup) on Friday.  The ambitious Hereford side still smarting from a home defeat by Slough seven days earlier were determined and physical as the card count of eight yellows (four each) and a red indicates and St Neots never really coped in the first hour but strangely played their best football when reduced to ten men.   There were two team changes with Johnny Herd and Ryan Horne replacing Micky Hyem and Danny Watson is a reshuffled line up but the home side were outgunned in midfield where the visitors reigned supreme and they failed to fully exploit the trickery and pace of Dion Sembie Ferris in attack.

St Neots created the first real chance after six minutes when Sembie-Ferris making his home debut left his marker for dead to cross for the unmarked Dylan Williams, who, with time and space available, somehow  fired wide when an opener for the hosts looked odd on .   However, once Hereford got into their stride, they looked slick and impressive.   Full back James Bowen joined his attack to test Mike Emery and Pablo Haysham drifted wide to the bye-line to set up Gethyn Hill with a headed chance which he placed well wide.   However, St Neots were on the back foot and fell behind after 21 minutes when the speedy Pablo Heysham cut in from the left to curl a well-placed shot wide of Emery who looked to be unsighted.   Three bookings followed in quick succession as the exchanges became feisty and St Neots solitary effort was when Sembie-Ferris again beat his marker to cross to the far post where Scott Sinclair headed over the bar.   As the match moved into time added at the end of the first half John Mills moved inside from the right to shoot low towards the net and although Emery blocked his first effort the Hereford striker got a lucky rebound off a defender to slot home a second goal.   In that attack St Neots lost injured defender Liam McDevitt who was replaced by Tom Wood.

Another substitution after half time saw Matt Foy introduced for Ryan Horne with acting skipper Lee Clarke moved back to midfield and Foy made a swift impact bringing a good save from visiting keeper Martin Horsell.  Mills was sent clear of the home defence but Emery saved well but on the hour Hereford cemented their superiority with a third goal as Hill crossed to find Jamie Molineux but St Neots were upset with Taylor Parr lying injured and the game allowed to continue.   Two minutes later Sembie-Ferris went clear towards goal but was brought down from behind by Mike McGrath, earning the Hereford man a yellow card that should perhaps have been red!   Foy headed wide and just as St Neots began to look threatening they lost Tom Wood to a serious head injury caused by a careless elbow that went unmissed by the match officials meaning the Saints were to see out the game with only ten men.   Despite having the one-man advantage Hereford had settled for their comfortable lead and they wasted as much time as they legally could and pulled players back behind the ball leaving just one man up front.   St Neots responded well and there were just four minutes remaining when a long throw by Johnny Herd was only cleared as far as Scott Sinclair who produced an instinctive volley through the packed area to notch St Neots consolation goal.   There was still time for Jack Bradshaw to force the save of the match from Horsell with a lengthy free kick and for Dara O’Shea to be sent off after picking up a second yellow card.  Finally Referee Robert Evans pulled play back to give St Neots a free kick with Sembie-Ferris bearing down unmarked on goal.

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

St Neots Town:  Emery, Bradshaw, Herd, Horne, McDevitt, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Wiltshire, Clarke, Williams (D), Sinclair

Subs:  Wood (for McDevitt 45 + 3), Foy (for Horne 46), Knight (for Williams 67), Hyem and Watson.

Cards:  McDevitt (Y – 15 mins), Clarke (Y – 42 mins), Wiltshire (Y – 60 min), Knight (Y – 83 mins).

 

Goals:  Sinclair (86 mins)

 

Hereford:  Horsell, Oates, Bowen, Reffell, Preston, O’Shea, Molineux, McGrath, Mills, Haysham, Hill

 

Subs:  Purdie (for Preston 42), Preen (for Hill 79), Edge, Franklin and Harris.

 

Cards:   O’Shea (RED – 2 x Y -  39 & 90 +2 mins), Bowen (Y – 30 mins), McGrath (Y – 62 mins), Oates (88 mins)

 

Goals:   Haysham (21 mins), Mills (45 + 1 mins), Molineux (60 mins)

 

Attendance: 516

Referee:  Robert Evans (Northampton)

 

 

John Walker

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