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Improved Performance Not Quite Enough To See Off 10 Men Of Stortford

Sunday, 25 March 2018 11:30

SOUTHERN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town      2       Bishop’s Stortford      2

St Neots let themselves down as they allowed their ten-man visitors to grab a late goal to ensure a share of the points that they hardly deserved.   The home side had dominated possession and created most of the chances but a late loss of concentration when their first victory in five matches beckoned cost them dear.   After five wins in their last six outings Stortford were one of the form sides in the Premier Division but they were made to look very ordinary in the early stages of the match as a resurgent looking St Neots took the game to them.   Having solved their recent problem of finding the back of the net the home side must now work on tightening up their defence because the visitors earned their share of the points with two very soft goals.   After his injury sustained at Merthyr Johnny Herd was not fully fit and left on the bench but new loan signing Jordan Norville-Williams from Cambridge United looked an adequate replacement and was the architect of his sides’ second goal.   Elsewhere Liam McDevitt and David Bridges returned to the side replacing Dan Buddle and Johnny Butler.

An early header by Nabil Shariff passed just the wrong side of a post and a 30 yards effort by Luke Knight was comfortably gathered by visiting keeper Callam Kitscha.   St Neots thought they had gone ahead after 10 minutes when debut boy Jordan Norville-Williams fed Dylan Williams whose shot beat the keeper but rebounded off the post and little was seen of the visiting attack in the opening 25 minutes.   Then they did carve out two half chances – Darren Foxley’s shot was deflected wide and then a defensive slip let in Alfie Mason, but he fired high over the bar.   For a spell late in the first half much of the play was restricted to midfield with the St Neots trio of Kyron Wiltshire, David Bridges and Luke Knight seeing plenty of the ball but failing to create real openings for their front players.   Then with less than a minute remaining in the first half Stortford went ahead against the run of play.   An attack down the right and cross from Jack Thomas found the much-travelled Jamie Cureton and when his effort was blocked the ball fell to Darren Foxley who beat Iron with a low finish.

The second half began with a flurry of action.   Jordan Westcott should have extended Stortford’s advantage a minute in when he headed badly wide when unmarked, but St Neots went down the other end to level the scores.   Norville-Williams picked up the ball on the edge of his own penalty area and surged forward to shoot and beat the keeper, but the ball rebounded from the inside of the far post, but only as far as Nabil Shariff on hand to score from six yards.   The keeper then made up for that with two stunning saves – the first from a Dion Sembie-Ferris narrow-angled effort and the second as he twisted to turn over a perfectly placed Williams shot from under the crossbar.  St Neots increased the pressure and Wiltshire had a net-bound shot blocked and Marvel Expiteta cleared off the line from Sembie-Ferris.  The home side reaped the reward for their pressure after 62 minutes when leading scorer Dylan Williams claimed his thirteenth league goal of the campaign to put St Neots ahead.   More chances followed with Sembie-Ferris seeing an effort blocked and Tom Wood ballooning a shot high over the bar.  A 77th minute incident saw Stortford reduced to ten men with Thomas sent off after he appeared to strike Luke Knight who was also booked, but against the odds the visitors snatched an 86th minute equalizer when full back George Casey popped up at the far post behind the St Neots defence to earn their unlikely point.  

 

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

Subs:  Broccoli (for Wiltshire 87 mins) Sinclair (for Williams 90 mins), Buddle, Butler and Herd.

Cards:  Williams (Y – 34 mins), Knight (Y – 77 mins)

GoalsShariff (47 mins), Williams (63 mins)

 

Bishop's Stortford:  Kitscha, Casey, Cruse, Hughes, Expiteta, Robinson, Westcott, Thomas, Mason, Cureton, Foxley

Subs:  Taylor (for Westcott 49 mins), Oakman (for Mason 80 mins)

Cards:  Thomas (RED – 77 mins)

Goals:  Foxley (44 mins), Casey (86 mins)

 

Referee:  Alex Rayment (Dunstable)

Attendance:  280

 

John Walker

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