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Brave Saints eventually overpowered by the high-flying Poppies

Wednesday, 27 December 2017 12:35



St Neots Town      2         Kettering Town     4

A bumper sized Boxing Day crowd witnessed a Christmas cracker of a second half to this match that produced five goals and end-to-end attacking football.    However, sadly for St Neots they finished second best to a well drilled and confident visiting side whose three deserved points kept up their pressure on league leaders Kings Lynn.   Although the result gave the Poppies a predicable league double, St Neots can be proud of the fight they put up against one of the most fluent attacks in the division.   To come back to compete effectively after conceding an early penalty goal is testimony to the belief that Manager Matt Clements has instilled in his side and even in defeat he will have been proud of the team.   There was one enforced change in the starting line up with Scott Sinclair brought in to replace the unavailable Jack Bradshaw.

After a lively start in which the first chance of the match fell to Nabil Shariff who spotted visiting keeper Paul White off his line, but the retreating custodian stuck out a leg to divert the ball for a corner.   Then after eight minutes Scott Sinclair was judged to have brought down Gary Stohrer whose pace had taken him beyond the defense, and from the resultant penalty kick, Rene Howe confidently put the Poppies in front.   In reply St Neots showed flashes of defiance with Stefan Broccoli lively behind the strikers, but the visitors created further chances with Ben Milnes firing wide from the edge of the area and Howe heading over when he as left unmarked at the far post.   Both sides were showing a commendable degree of commitment and Mike Emery kept the home side in the game with a fine save to deny Aaron O’Connor.

Liam McDevitt put an early second half St Neots effort on to the roof of the net from a Johnny Herd corner and on the break from a quickly taken free kick Howe brought a reflex save from Emery.   Just before the hour St Neots’ determination was rewarded when from a Dion Sembie-Ferris cross, Lewis Irwin hooked the ball over White, to level the scores.   However, parity lasted just four minutes before the Poppies regained the lead as Howe claimed his second goal of the match as he finished off a silky move between Lindon Meikle and Michael Richens.   St Neots tried hard to respond but three minutes after their second goal Kettering got a third when from a Bateman cross, O’Connor got in front of his marker to make it 3-1.   St Neots had made a change sending on leading scorer Dylan Williams for Broccoli, and just two minutes after his introduction, he was on hand to claim his sides’ second goal after a shot had been blocked.   The end-to-end action continued but in their bid to make up their deficit St Neots was leaving gaps at the back and Tom Marshall saw a header rebound from the crossbar and then Milnes brought the save of the match from Emery.   The clinching goal came twelve minutes from time when the Referee played a great advantage allowing substitute Matthew Stevens to accelerate down the right to beat Emery with an exquisite chip. Saints' final attack saw Sembie-Ferris break clear at the other end but his final shot was too high.

St Neots Town:  Emery, Sinclair, Herd, Knight, McDevitt, Wood, Wiltshire, Broccoli, Irwin, Shariff, Sembie-Ferris.

Subs:  Williams (for Broccoli (66 mins), Marsh-Brown (for Wiltshire 81 mins), O’Malley (for Sinclair 87 mins), and Butler.

Cards:  Irwin (Y – 45+1 min)

Goals:  Irwin (59mins), Williams (68 mins)

Kettering Town:  White, Bateman, Toseland, Marshall, Mulligan, Richens, Stohrer,, O’Connor. Howe, Milnes, Meikle.

Subs:  Stevens (for Howe 72 mins), Hoeness (for Meikle 85 mins), Thomas (for Milnes 87 mins), and Snow.

Cards:  Milnes (Y – 38 mins), Richens (Y – 73 mins), Mulligan (Y – 74 mins)

Goals:  Howe (2) (8 mins -pen & 63 mins), O’Connor (67 mins), Stevens (78 mins)


Referee:  Tom Danaher (London)

Attendance:  509


John Walker


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