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Stylish Saints slam the brakes on General's six match winning streak

Saturday, 03 February 2018 20:25

 

SOUTHERN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town      3         Chesham United     1

 

With recently signed goalkeeper Josh Jessop recalled late in the week by his former club, Chelmsford City, St Neots Manager Matt Clements brought in 17 years old Cambridge United Academy player Finlay Iron on loan to take over the number one jersey, and the youngster performed with great skill and maturity when under second half pressure as the visitors strove for a comeback from a 3-0 half time deficit.  Chesham arrived at the Premier Plus Stadium, as holders of the best playing record in the division, boasting a seven matches unbeaten run with the last six of those being straight victories.   However, they came up against a determined home side displaying the rather unusual trait of an excellent start to a home match.   Three goals in a 27 minutes spell saw them well on top at the break and although Chesham came back strongly, Taylor Parr in the home defence was outstanding against one of the most potent attacking forces in the division.   It was only the second time this season that St Neots had enjoyed the luxury of a three goals cushion and in the second half they played with confidence and a resoluteness despite conceding an early own goal.   Apart from the enforced goalkeeping change Manager Clements reshaped his side in a 4-3-3 formation bringing in Kyron Wiltshire and Stefan Broccoli for Nabil Shariff and Dylan Williams.

 

After the early exchanges in which Iron had to sprint from his line to clear following a Liam McDevitt mis-judgement, St Neots saw a Dion Sembie-Ferris shot deflected wide before they took the lead on 12 minutes.   A swift build-up involving Kyron Wiltshire and Davis Bridges ended when Matt Bevans handled a Sembie-Ferris cross and a penalty was awarded.   With regular penalty taker Dylan Williams on the bench, Johnny Herd stepped forward to send the goalkeeper the wrong way to put his side ahead.   Chesham responded with a spell of possession but created no real openings and on the half hour, a neat Sembie-Ferris back heel in the area bamboozled the visiting defence allowing Lewis Irwin to calmly slot past the statuesque goalkeeper.   Iron did well to collect a curving free kick by former Saint David Hutton and then six minutes before the break the goal of the match arrived with Wiltshire slipping a neat pass through the defence for Lewis Irwin to unleash a rising shot over Harry Isted who got despairing fingers to the ball as it flew into the net.   Stefan Broccoli was then tripped on the edge of the area earning a booking for Darren Locke.

 

Chesham shaped up with a more attacking look after the break and substitute Jhai Dhillon was quickly involved setting up a second minute attack that saw Lewis Toomey get to the bye line to cross and in his panic to clear Liam McDevitt only succeeded in turning the ball past the unfortunate Iron.   St Neots then almost claimed a fourth goal as Sembie-Ferris raced half the length of the field and when his shot was blocked it fell to Broccoli whose net bound shot was cleared off the line by Bevans with his keeper beaten.   This boosted the visitors’ hopes and they produced some swift attacking moves with Lewis Toomey firing badly wide after good work by Hutton and then a Hutton free kick was punched away under pressure by Iron.    On the break St Neots still looked dangerous and David Bridges found Sembie-Ferris unmarked on the right, but his shot was diverted just over the bar by a defender with the unsighted Referee awarding a goal kick.   A series of substitution by both sides saw the tempo drop but four minutes from time McDevitt had a shot blocked on the line following a Herd corner.   In the generous addition of seven minutes time by the Referee, St Neots were easily able to mop up Chesham’s late attempts to salvage something from the match.

 

St Neots:  Iron, Bradshaw, Herd, Knight, McDevitt, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Bridges, Irwin, Wiltshire, Broccoli

Subs:  Sinclair (for Sembie-Ferris 76 mins), Shariff (for Irwin 79 mins), O’Malley (for Wiltshire 79 mins), Wood and Williams.

Cards:  Wiltshire (Y – 59 mins), Broccoli (Y – 64 mins)

Goals:  Irwin 2 (30 & 39 mins), Herd – pen – (12 mins)

 

Chesham:  Isted, Crilley, Hall, Bevans, Murphy, Locke, Swales, Watkins, Louis, Toomey, Hutton

Subs:  Dhillon (for Hall 64 mins), Shamsi (for Hutton 69 mins), Green (for Watkins 76 mins), Bates and McGleish.

Cards:  Murphy (Y – 12 mins), Locke (Y – 45 mins), Green (Y – 90 + 2 mins)

Goals:  McDevitt (OG) (47 mins)

 

Referee:  Stuart Cheek (Stevenage)

Attendance:  239

 

John Walker

 

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