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Diamonds involved in Bank (Holiday) Robbery As Spot Kick Earns The Points

Monday, 27 August 2018 18:57


St Neots Town       0        AFC Rushden & Diamonds        1

St Neots are just not getting it right in front of goal this season.   That might sound like stating the obvious but their record of three 1-0 reverses and a 0-0 draw in five matches this season is testimony to the problem facing Manager Matt Clements and his coaching team.   Originally Lewis Irwin was signed as the target man and his record of seven goals in twelve starts last season looked promising enough, but he has been missing for the last two matches and there seems to be no-one in the squad to replace him.   Effort and commitment are not the problem based on the last two performances – both against fancied sides – but in this match lady luck played her part in the defeat.   The only goal of the match came just seven minutes in when Taylor Parr brought down Tom Lorraine and although the challenge looked to be outside the penalty area, Referee George Byrne had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.   Former Saint Ben Farrell confidently tucked the penalty kick beyond the reach of Finley Iron and that was enough to send the three points back to Northamptonshire.   Subsequently St Neots played well enough in patches, but goals are proving elusive.   The one team change from the previous match was a full Southern League debut for Prince Mutswunguma with Kasey Douglas swapping places with him on the substitutes bench.

Ironically the goal was the first significant action in the match.   Tom Wood was caught on the wrong side of Tom Lorraine who bore down on goal and the challenge from covering defender Taylor Parr was mistimed and clumsy.    Goalkeeper Iron then had to dive at the feet of Callum Westwood, but it was St Neots who began to dominate the attacking play.   Matty Miles saw visiting keeper Ben Heath save well and then in the same attack, a lengthy effort by Jack Keeble was pushed over the bar and from the resultant Knight corner, Dion Sembie-Ferris saw his header cleared off the line by a defender.   Rushden also had their chances with Farrell left unmarked from a Westwood free kick, but Iron saved well and then on the break a Knight free kick was pushed for a corner by Heath.   The visitors had to make a first half change when Blaize Punter replaced the injured Jack Ashton and St Neots ended the first half promisingly as Sembie-Ferris showed skill and patience on the bye line to set up Claudio Ofosu whose header was blocked by a defender.   The final action of the first half saw a looping shot by Ofosu saved by the keeper at the far post.

The second half was less open as the visitors set themselves up in a more defensive formation.   Even then Iron had to leave his area to do a ‘sweepers’ job just past the hour.   St Neots pushed Harry O’Malley forward to support Sembie-Ferris and with possession in their favor St Neots was missing the creative probing of the injured Dylan Williams.   After 63 minutes a mazy run from the flank saw Ofosu set himself up for a testing shot that dipped under the cross bar but at full stretch Heath tipped the ball over for a corner.   A series of St Neots corner were then expertly defended by the visitors who seemed early to have settled for their narrow advantage.   Frustration set in as two St Neots players were booked for careless tackles and even the introduction of Kasey Douglas for Ofosu and Leon Fulianty for his senior debut replacing Mutswunguma failed to further St Neots hopes of an equalizing goal.  Six minutes from time visiting skipper Liam Dolman was left unmarked at a rare visitors’ corner but he wasted the chance of a clinching goal as he headed tamely over the bar.   A late shot by Douglas well wide of target was St Neots best effort late in the game and now only goal difference is keeping St Neots out of the relegation zone.

St Neots:  Iron, Keeble, Miles, Knight, Wood, Parr, O’Malley, Peters, Sembie-Ferris, Mutswunguma, Ofosu

Subs:  Douglas (for Ofosu 72 mins), Fulianty (for Mutswunguma 82 mins), Olaniran and Reynolds.

Cards:  Ofosu (Y – 65 mins), Miles (Y – 71 mins), Knight (Y – 88 mins)

Goals:  none


AFC Rushden:  Heath, Westwood, Brown, Ashton, Dolman, Westbrook, Chilton, Farrell, Gyasi, Lorraine, Hopkins

Subs:  Punter (for Ashton 30 mins), Gilchrist (for Westwood 54 mins), Dean (for Gyasi 78 mins), Ward and Lobjolt

Cards:  none

Goals:  Farrell (7 mins – pen)

Referee:  George Byrne (Mildenhall)

Attendance:  609


John Walker

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