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Toothless Saints comfortably beaten by the Marketmen

Wednesday, 21 November 2018 09:03

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town     0        Needham Market       3          

St Neots  Town produced their worst home performance of the season as they capitulated without any real threat on an evening, they will be glad to forget.   Now without a home league victory since 15th September and without any win at all in their last five outings they slipped into the relegation zone in the league table almost without a whimper as Lowestoft defeated high-flying Royston Town.   Visitors Needham Market making their first trip to the town were a workmanlike outfit without being special, and they will have returned home surprised at the ease of their victory.   On the few occasions that St Neots did threaten they were ironically thwarted by visiting goalkeeper Jake Jessop who played one match for St Neots last season.   The home side were inept of ideas and too many of their passes lacked conviction or accuracy and they were defensively poor.   The only player to emerge with credit from the match was goalkeeper Harry Reynolds who kept the score down to a reasonable level and even he was culpable when his side sloppily conceded the second Needham goal.   Skipper Like Knight and Dylan Williams returned to the side after suspension but the two players injured on Saturday, Russell Short and Devante Stanley were not fully fit and sat the match on the completely unused substitutes bench.   The only other change saw a recall for Claudio Ofosu in place of Dan Olaniran, with Manager Matt Clements lining his side up in a more usual 4-2-4 formation.

On a damp dismal evening St Neots performance was soon to mirror the weather when they conceded the first goal after just six minutes.   Full back Callum Sturgess won his way to the bye line and crossed low for James Baker to nip between two defenders at the near post to slide the ball past Reynolds.   Three minutes later the goalkeeper had to leave his line smartly to attempt a clearance, but the ball deflected to Luke Ingram whose shot was badly wide as the goal yawned.   Midway through the half Reynolds was twice called up in as many minutes to make important saves to deny Baker and Adam Mills as Needham dictated all the attacking play and it was past the half hour when Luke Knight had St Neots’ first searching shot that flew wide and then Claudio Ofosu was unlucky when his narrow-angled effort rebounded from a post into the grateful keeper’s arms.   After 34 minutes Needham should have had a second goal when Jake Dye went past two defenders to find Mills unmarked at the far post, but he headed wide when it looked easier to score.

St Neots initial response after the break was critical if they were to salvage some reward from the match and Tom Wood did fire narrowly wide following a corner but it was the visitors who produced the second crucial goal of the match after 56 minutes.   It came from an attack down the left-hand side with Mills beating his marker and when the ball ran loose, goalkeeper Reynolds and two defenders all seemed to hesitate leaving Mills to slide a pass to the unmarked Tariq Issa to side foot in to the unguarded net.   St Neots showed some fight with Lee Watkins having a shot blocked after good work by Johnny Herd, Nabil Shariff had reasonable appeals for a penalty turned down, and Ofosu tested Jessop with a shot acrobatically saved.   However it was all too little to seriously test the visiting defence and Ingram was left unmarked at the far post but could only find the side-netting.  Then after 67 minutes the visitors clinched the points with a third goal when from an Issa corner Daniel Morphew was allowed to rise unchallenged to head home.   St Neots fight back stalled as they had players booked more for frustration than effort, and it was left to Reynolds to produce two more excellent saves to deny Mills and Baker.   In the last ten minutes Taylor Parr headed over from a Herd corner and then Herd attempted a solo run towards goal but finished up screwing his shot wide.   St Neots evening was appropriately summed up when they were denied even a late consolation in added time when Jessop produced a full length save to deny Dylan Williams a goal from a free kick.

St Neots Town:  Reynolds, Miles, Herd, Knight, Wood, Parr, Wharton, Watkins, Shariff, Williams, Ofosu

Subs:  Douglas, Olaniran, Mutswunguma, Stanley and Short (none used)

Cards:  Parr (Y – 34 mins), Wharton (Y – 69 mins), Wood (Y – 71 mins), Miles (Y – 88 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Needham:  Jessop, Dye, Sturgess, Squire, Morphew (K), Morphew (D), Ingram, Heath, Baker, Issa, Mills

Subs:  Dobson (for Squire 78 mins), Kamanzi (for Issa 78 mins), Griffiths (for Baker 85 mins, Marsden and Shorten

Cards:  Issa (Y – 17 mins)

Goals:  Baker (10 mins), Issa (56 mins), Morphew (D) (67 mins)

 

Referee:  Wayne Chalmers (Northampton)

Attendance:  139

 

John Walker

 

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