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Saints can feel hard done by to return home empty handed from Slough

Saturday, 24 February 2018 20:52


Slough Town       2        St Neots Town      1

Two goals either end of the first half proved sufficient to give Slough all three points as they avenged an early season defeat at the Premier Plus Stadium.   The game had barely got under way when after 25 seconds in the first attack of the match Slough were in front – the quickest goal ever scored against St Neots in a Southern League fixture.   That might have dampened the hopes of any side but for much of the remaining 89 minutes St Neots looked undaunted and might well have returned home with a share of the points.   However, their reshaped side lacked bite in front of goal and despite a solid overall performance they can have no complaints about the result.   The day began badly with the news that striker Lewis Irwin had failed to shake off an injury sustained in the midweek trip to Hereford, so Stefan Broccoli was restored in a reshaped attack.   In midfield Kyron Wiltshire was serving the first of his two-match suspension with David Bridges replacing him but another late problem surfaced with Jack Bradshaw breaking down in the warm-up, so Liam McDevitt came in at the heart of the defence with the versatile Tom Wood moving to full back.   With only two substitutes (one of them less than fully fit) it was just as well that there were no further injury scares.

That lightning quick goal resulted from some very shoddy early defending.   James Dobson waltzed past Johnny Herd to produce the perfect cross and Perry Coles, recently acquired from Farnborough and making his home debut, managed to get free from the two central defenders to give Finlay Iron no chance with a crisp finish.   St Neots responded with a Herd free kick comfortably saved by home keeper Jack Turner and apart from a 12th minute let off when Chris Flood was left unmarked to crash a volley against a goalpost, St Neots came back well to compete with some confidence.   They still tended to play with their back line too narrow giving wide men Dobson and Warren Harris too much space, but Slough failed to make their attacking possession count and Iron was seldom tested.   After 40 minutes a Herd corner went over the head of Turner to finish up in the net, but the Referee had spotted a push on the keeper and a free kick was awarded.   Then in the last three minutes of the half there was non-stop action.   A glancing header by Mark Nisbet from a Matt Lench corner was headed off the line by the hardworking Luke Knight but from a Guy Hollis long throw, Dobson headed on to the far post and Perry Coles claimed his second goal of the match.   In added time at the end of the first half St Neots produced the perfect response when from another Herd corner Nabil Shariff rose to head over the keeper to keep the visitors in the game.

Within two minutes of the restart the Referee missed a clear handball by a home defender following a corner and as St Neots vainly appealed, the home side broke forward with Dobson going clear of the defence but with only the keeper to beat he saw his shot rebound from a post.   The pace of the game then seemed to drop and for a spell much of the play was in midfield with neither side seeming able to carve out a real opening.   Dobson did well to get past his marker to cross to set up Flood for a free header that he put straight into the arms of Iron, but St Neots were beginning to look the more confident and Shariff unselfishly set up Dion Sembie-Ferris whose net bound effort was blocked by a defender.   A spate of late bookings broke up the rhythm of the game, but three minutes from time after a sweet move started by Knight deep in the St Neots half, Shariff should have done better but sent his shot high over the bar.   However, with Hitchin beaten at Basingstoke, St Neots remain eleventh in the table.

St Neots Town:  Iron, Wood, Herd, Knight, McDevitt, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Bridges, Shariff, Williams (D), Broccoli

Subs:  Buddle and Bradshaw (neither used)

Cards:  Bridges (Y – 66 mins), Williams (Y – 69 mins), McDevitt (Y – 82 mins)

GoalsShariff (45 + 1 min)


Slough:  Turner, Fraser, Wells, Hollis, Nisbet, Togwell, Dobson, Lench, Coles, Flood, Harris

Subs:  Williams (J) (for Coles 71 mins), Dunn (for Flood 88 mins)

Cards:  Flood (Y – 64 mins), Dobson (79 mins), Fraser (Y – 84 mins)

Goals:  Coles 2 (25 secs & 44 mins)

Referee:  James Simpson (Paddington)

Attendance:  615



John Walker

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