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Ruthless Saints return from Farnborough with three well earned points

Sunday, 22 October 2017 09:40

Southern League Premier Division     

FARNBOROUGH      2        ST NEOTS TOWN        4     

In the week leading up to this match St Neots Manager Matt Clements had called for his side to be ‘more ruthless’ in front of goal and they responded by scoring four goals in an away league match for the first time since November 2016.   The result was an appropriate revenge for St Neots who had lost to their Hampshire hosts on the opening day of the season at the Premier Plus Stadium.   Former Conference members, Farnborough are clearly ambitious to secure their slot back at Step Two of the National League system and they came into this match on the back of an excellent away midweek victory at promotion favorites Hereford but St Neots were never behind in the match as they conquered both their opponents and a swirling wind.   Two team changes were required for the visitors with Taylor Parr serving his one-match ban, and Johnny Herd unavailable for selection and into the side came fit again Liam McDevitt and Ronayne Marsh- Brown for his league debut.   Also sitting out this trip were the suspended Kyron Wiltshire and the injured Ryan Horne.

St Neots got off to an impressive start with home keeper Matt Cafer having to make a smart save after four minutes to deny man-of-the-match Dylan Williams who was to terrorize the home defence.  Four minutes later St Neots made the break through as Williams and Dion Sembie-Ferris combined cleverly to set up skipper Luke Knight for his first goal of the season.  The visitors continued to create openings against, at times, a static home defence and Cafer had to save bravely at the feet of Sembie-Ferris after he had carved his way through the defence.   After 29 minutes Tom Meechan was clearly pulled back by a defender but as St Neots penalty appeals were still being heard Farnborough broke quickly for their experienced mercurial striker Jamie Cureton to be fouled by Tom Wood at the opposite end and this time the Referee did point to the penalty spot.  Cureton with more than 700 Premier and Football League appearances to his credit sent Mike Emery the wrong way to strike home the equalizing goal.  This seemed to energize the home side and in their next attack Knight had to head off the line following a corner.   However, St Neots were soon back in the groove and three minutes before the break a sweetly hit free kick by Jack Bradshaw cleared the defence and at the far post Tom Wood sent a low shot into the net to restore St Neots’ lead.

The second half saw the pattern of play maintained as Liam McDevitt sent a fierce snap shot narrowly over the top and after 63 minutes St Neots opened up a two goals advantage as Williams again beat his marker to cross to find Meechan and he served up a trademark goal turning sharply to fire past Cafer.   Cafer then denied the striker a second goal with a good save with Williams again the provider but Farnborough mounted a determined come-back and after 73 minutes Nic Ciardini, who was the best home player, was denied two efforts by Mike Emery.  However, four minutes later the St Neots custodian was caught out by an opportunistic lob over his head from CJ Fearn after another spell of home pressure.   At 3-2 Farnborough looked to be back in the game but St Neots were not going to let their advantage slip.   They refreshed their approach sending on two substitutes and the busy Cafer had to save bravely at the feet of Sembie-Ferris.   A key moment came two minutes from time when a fierce shot from a free kick by substitute Jack Barton was turned over the bar by Emery and deep into added time Meechan was impeded by goalkeeper Cafer and a second penalty of the match awarded which Williams confidently tucked home to become the fourth St Neots player on the scoresheet.

Claire Howes' Match Photo Gallery can be found here: Matchday Photo Gallery

St Neots Town:  Emery, Bradshaw, Marsh-Brown, Knight, Wood, McDevitt, Sembie-Ferris, O’Malley, Meechan, Williams (D), Sinclair

Subs:  Bridges (for O’Malley 78 mins), Butler (for Sinclair 81 mins) and Williams (A).

Cards:  McDevitt (Y – 30), Knight (Y – 50), Bridges (Y – 82), Emery (Y – 90 + 3)

 

Goals:  Knight (8 mins), Wood (42 mins), Meechan (63 mins), Williams (D) - pen (90 + 5 mins)

 

Farnborough:  Cafer, Hammond, Fearn, Everitt, Saville, Huggins, Southam, Evans, Cureton, Calcutt, Ciardini

 

Subs:  Willock (for Southam 17 mins), Hutchings (for Willock 46 mins), Barton (for Hammond 68 mins), Forbes and Upward.

 

Cards:   Huggins (Y – 11 mins)

 

Goals:   Cureton – pen (30 mins), Fearn (77 mins)

Attendance: 285

Referee:  Steven Scott (Balham, London)

 

 

John Walker

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