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Saints are Spot-On as Late penalty seals hard fought win over nine man BasingStoke

Saturday, 25 November 2017 19:48

Southern League Premier Division    

ST NEOTS TOWN        2          BASINGSTOKE TOWN       1

This was the last match of Tom Meechan’s two months loan from Hungerford Town and he will have mixed memories of his final appearance at the Premier Plus Stadium.   He was denied a very obvious penalty in the first half when he was flattened by Basingstoke defender Shane Hollamby but then with nine minutes left and the scores tied at 1-1 he was brought down again in the penalty area and picked himself up to see his under hit penalty kick comfortably saved by Colm McAdden.   Then five minutes into time added he again burst into the area to be upended for a third time and this time he left the penalty kick to Johnny Herd whose successful effort obtained all three points for his side.   Meechan was the first to congratulate his team mate!    So, St Neots extended their unbeaten league run to seven games despite the absence of five players either injured, suspended or ill and they climbed to tenth place in the league table – their highest position since 29th August 2016.   The midweek training ground injury to leading scorer Dylan Williams meant a recall to the side for David Bridges whilst Ronayne Marsh-Brown came into the side for his third league appearance in place of the also injured Liam McDevitt.  Visitors Basingstoke contributed to their own downfall by finishing with nine players on the pitch after picking up two second half red cards.

 

The first 45 minutes were rather forgettable despite each side scoring a goal.  Play was often scrappy with a lack of real control from either side although St Neots had two early chances when Dion Sembie-Ferris cut in to see his low shot blocked and then Jack Bradshaw linked with Sembie-Ferris to sent in a low cross that neither Meechan nor Bridges could reach.  At the other end from a George Bennett free kick, Mike Emery made an important save to touch over a header from Shane Hollamby after 21 minutes but three minutes later the visitors took the lead with a fortunate goal.   It came from a flighted Tim Wohlfiel free kick that was not cleared and the ball fell to an attacker who drove the ball at Jack Bradshaw from a couple of yards and to St Neots dismay the Referee awarded penalty kick for an alleged involuntary handball.  Sam Argent slotted home the penalty kick but St Neots were behind for less than two minutes.   A long throw by Johnny Herd was returned to him wide on the right and his cross to the far post saw David Bridges climb above the goalkeeper to head home his first Southern League goal for St Neots.   Meechan should then have been awarded a penalty when he was flattened by Hollamby but the Referee waved play on much to St Neots disbelief.   Just before half time Harry O’Malley headed narrowly over the bar from a Bradshaw corner.

 

The second half was a feisty affair with Bridges heading wide before St Neots lost Bradshaw to injury with Jonny Butler replacing him.   Ryan Horne saw an effort deflected over the bar and sent a volley well wide as St Neots began to dominate but after 67 minutes he was also injured and limped off to be replaced by St Neots’ latest signing Stefan Broccoli, once on the books of Newcastle United.  He had an immediate impact on the left flank setting up Sembie-Ferris for a shot well saved by McAdden.   A 77th incident saw substitute Ben Wright – only on the field for five minutes – kick Luke Knight who was on the ground for which he was sent off with the St Neots skipper booked for retaliation.   Meechan then missed the penalty he had been awarded and with five minutes remaining the visitors could have snatched a winning goal with a breakaway attack, but Emery produced a quality save to deny Argent who had been left unmarked.   Two minutes from the end of normal time Bennett picked up a second yellow card to join his colleague in an early bath, and it looked as though Basingstoke would hang on for a share of the points.   However, five minutes into added time Meechan burst into the area and finished up on the ground from a desperate tackle and cool as a cucumber Johnny Herd tucked away the third penalty kick of the contest to settle the outcome.

Footnote:  St Neots scheduled Tuesday evening League match at Royston is postponed because the Hertfordshire side will be involved in an FA Trophy replay.

St Neots Town:  Emery, Bradshaw, Herd, Knight, Marsh-Brown, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Bridges, Meechan, O’Malley, Horne

Subs:  Butler (for Bradshaw 54 mins), Broccoli (for Horne 67 mins) and McDevitt

Cards:  Marsh-Brown (Y – 49), Knight (Y – 77)

 

Goals:  Bridges (26 mins), Herd – pen (90 + 5 mins)

 

Basingstoke:  McAdden, Wohlfiel, Bennett, Collier, Hollamby, Demuria, McKnight, Kennedy, Argent, Smart, Bunting

 

Subs:  Wright (for Bunting 72 mins), Johnson-Schuster (for Hollamby 82 mins) and Goater

 

Cards:   Wright (RED – 77 mins), Bennett (RED – 2 x Y – 74 mins & 88 mins)

 

Goals:   Argent (24 mins)

Attendance: 233

Referee:  Tom Danahar (Camden, London)

 

 

John Walker

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