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Resilient Saints pick up another point on the road at Banbury

Saturday, 18 November 2017 20:02

Southern League Premier Division    

BANBURY UNITED        1        ST NEOTS TOWN        1          

Another draw on the road for St Neots – the sixth time they have finished all square in their last nine League outings – was regarded as a good result by Manager Matt Clements who said, “a point away from home is always good”.   However, a glance at the records shows that in half of those drawn games St Neots were leading and so perhaps they should have garnered more points in this impressive run.   Now eleventh in the table St Neots have as many points now as they had in mid-February last season, so they are well placed to go on and cement themselves a mid-table position or better this season.    The St Neots saviour once again was the irrepressible Dylan Williams, now the sides’ leading scorer with eight goals in 21 games but this result came from an all-round team performance which included Taylor Parr reliably solid in defence and once again Mike Emery in goal produced important saves when his team was in trouble.  With illness, injury and suspension still limiting team selection the Manager made just one slight adjustment to the starting line-up with Harry O’Malley restored in midfield, swapping places with David Bridges who was on the bench.

There was a slow start to the contest with neither side able to take the initiative.   Banbury created the first real opening after six minutes when the unmarked Jefferson Louis headed wide when he should have at least tested the keeper whilst St Neots relied on their usually effective attacking tactic that saw chances emanate from lengthy throws by Johnny Herd.   From one of these skipper Luke Knight blazed over the bar and then after 25 minutes a Jack Bradshaw free kick found the head of Taylor Parr whose effort flew the wrong side of a post.  A dangerous Banbury free kick on the edge of the area was successfully blocked by the defensive wall but after 31 minutes the visiting defence was breached when a diagonal cross from Adam Sandy found Connor McDonagh lurking on the edge of the penalty area and he beat Emery with a well-placed shot.   St Neots’ were often their own worst enemy as they persisted with high balls into the box that were easily cut out by the tall home defenders.  A clever Bradshaw pass found Dion Sembie-Ferris on the edge of the area and having cut in he saw his shot with the outside of his foot comfortably saved by Jack Harding and in time added at the end of the first half St Neots were twice fortunate not to go further behind.   A fierce rising shot by Tom Winters was beaten away by Emery who had looked unsighted, but the ball only went as far as Louis whose follow-up effort rebounded from the cross bar.

Having looked second best in the first 45 minutes, St Neots came out to dominate the second period.  After just two minutes they should have levelled when Williams threaded a cross into the box to find Sembie-Ferris unmarked, but he sent his shot directly at the keeper who was relieved to be able to save.   A second Sembie-Ferris effort was blocked and then the lively Williams was dragged down in the penalty area by Luke Carnell, but the replacement Referee waved away St Neots penalty appeals.  However, it took only nine minutes for St Neots to get back on terms as another long throw by Herd was not cleared and Dylan Williams drove the ball into the net.   Having got back level with more than half an hour to spare St Neots could, and probably should have gone on to take all three points.  Despite the visitors’ domination of possession Banbury always looked dangerous on the break and after 71 minutes McDonagh got the advantage of a favorable rebound off a defender and seemed to have the open goal at his mercy but Parr got back to clear off the line.  Four minutes later at the other end from yet another Herd throw, Parr won the ball in the air and only an acrobatic save by Harding kept his goal intact.   Tom Meechan saw a shot blocked and Ryan Horne shot over the bar but an 87th minute breakaway almost gave the home side full points as substitute Jack Self crossed to find the unmarked Louis but Emery produced the save of the match to ensure that one point returned to Cambridgeshire.

St Neots Town:  Emery, Bradshaw, Herd, Knight, McDevitt, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, O’Malley, Meechan, Horne, Williams (D),

Subs:  Butler (for Horne 76 mins), Bridges and Dean.

Cards:  none

 

Goals:  Williams (54 mins)

 

Banbury:  Harding, Hawtin, Westbrook, Nash, Johnson, Carnell, Sandy, Finch, Louis, McDonagh, Winters

 

Subs:  Bradbury (for Westbrook 58 mins), Self (for McDonagh 72 mins), Howards (for Sandy 82 mins), Wise and Peake.

 

Cards:   Johnson (Y – 88 mins)

 

Goals:   McDonagh (31 mins)

Attendance: 326

Referee:  Dave Bullen (Leicester)

 

John Walker

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