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Saints snatch first win of 2018 with late, late winner at Dunstable Town

Saturday, 27 January 2018 20:20

SOUTHERN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

Dunstable Town       2            St Neots Town      3

A last gasp winner from St Neots deservedly gave them their first victory of 2018 after three defeats and two draws in their last five league outings.   The victory was hard earned for a visiting team that started and finished the game well but for a twenty minutes spell either side of the break they struggled to compete with a side just four points off the foot of the table.   Dunstable, reshaped and much improved of late, have recently undergone a root and branch reorganisation both on and off the pitch and prior to midweek they had won just twice in 29 matches prior to a surprise Tuesday evening victory over top five side Weymouth, so they came into this match with expectation of continuing their revival.   They are a hard-working side employing a direct approach in attack and midway through the game they surprised St Neots with their ambitious but effective approach.   Having come from behind to lead 2-1 they must have been hoping for another rare home victory, but they seemed to run out of steam in the last ten minutes whereas their visitors, now noted for their ability to play right up to the final whistle, broke their hearts with that late winner.   With skipper Luke Knight back from suspension, he was reinstated in midfield in place of Tom Wood and Dylan Williams was preferred to Scott Sinclair in attack.   The third change saw newly signed goalkeeper Jake Jessup make his debut in place of Mike Emery whose work commitments were behind his sudden departure, having played all but two of his sides’ 34 league and cup matches this season.

The pitch was heavy and sanded in places, but a pre-match inspection saw it passed fit.   A sixth minute long throw by Johnny Herd was headed on to David Bridges whose shot flew well wide but eight minutes later St Neots were ahead as Dylan Williams went around the outside of Gideon Okito but was pulled back and a penalty awarded which Williams confidently tucked away.   The Dunstable player was booked, and a pattern of play emerged with St Neots using the Herd long throws as a principle attacking ploy.   Another of his long efforts was headed on by Taylor Parr for Williams to half volley over the bar and apart from a length effort by Peter Kioso from a Gideon Okito cross, little was seen of the Dunstable attack.  St Neots were looking comfortably in control with both Lewis Irwin and Williams having shots blocked and Luke Knight shooting well over the bar.   Ironically the closest that St Neots came to concede a first half goal was after 41 minutes when Parr elected to head a bouncing ball back to his keeper who had to stretch well above his 6’ 5” frame to grab the ball.   However, in added time before the break, the new signing showed his athleticism to turn a well placed free kick by Arel Amu over the bar for a corner.

Having finished the first half well, the host side carried on after the restart and just three minutes into the second period they deservedly drew level when Amu played Ryan Young clear on the right and he evaded a tackle to surprise the keeper with a fierce low shot.   After 63 minutes Dunstable won a corner and Ryan Young’s teasing cross was not cleared, the ball dropping to Daniel Trif who hit a shot past the unsighted Jessup to give his side the lead.   This was a wake-up call for St Neots and three minutes later Herd’s throw was headed on by Taylor Parr and when the ball was not cleared he pounced to level the scores.   St Neots sent on all three substitutes for the last twenty minutes and that paid dividends when four minutes into added time a Herd cross from the left found Lewis Irwin on the far side of the penalty area and his low shot was helped over the line from close range by substitute Kyron Wiltshire.   So, St Neots stay twelfth in the table as the season enters its final third.

St Neots Town:  Jessup, Bradshaw, Herd, Knight, McDevitt, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Bridges (D), Irwin, Shariff, Williams

Subs:  Broccoli (for Shariff 59 mins), Sinclair (for Sembie-Ferris 69 mins), Wiltshire (for Williams 69 mins), Wood and O’Malley

Cards:  none

Goals:  Williams – pen – (14 mins), Parr (66 mins), Wiltshire (90 + 4 mins)

 

Dunstable Town:  Hunt, Kioso, Okito, Ward (A), Trif, Ogden, Young, Ward (T), Black, Amu, Osei-Bonsu

Subs:  Maquemba (for Black 64 mins), Sonuga (for Okito 77 mins), Lamptey (for Young 83 mins), Williams (S) and Ladipo

Cards:  Okito (Y – 14 mins)

Goals:  Young (48 mins), Trif (63 mins)

 

Referee:  Jonathan Burridge (Cambridge)

Attendance:  105

 

 

John Walker

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