Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Improved showing from the Saints make Stourbridge work hard for the points

Saturday, 01 December 2018 20:36

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town     1        Stourbridge       2          

After a tepid first half performance and a half-time deficit, comeback kings Stourbridge moved closer to league leaders Kettering with two second half goals in a four minutes spell.   St Neots seemed to be coping well before the break without their two suspended central defenders Taylor Parr and Russell Short, but after half time the strong visiting side moved fully into gear to show just why they are in the top two places in the table.   Based on previous performances this was a much-improved overall showing by St Neots and Manager Matt Clements will have been pleased the way that the versatile Tom Wood and occasionally selected Dan Olaniran coped with the potent Stourbridge attack that is the best in the league.   Clements also introduced loan player Andrea Borg from Peterborough United and he had a quiet debut.   Once again back in goal Finlay Iron made several good saves whilst at the other end St Neots carved out a host of half chances but once again, they were let down by their finishing.

After a quiet start with much of the play in midfield it was St Neots who made the important break through after 14 minutes.   Gary Wharton drifted from left to right to pick up a pass and his cross was knocked down by Stuart Pierpoint, but only to the edge of the area where Dylan Williams picked up the ball to score with a low crisp shot beyond the dive of visiting keeper James Wren.   Nabil Shariff then shot wide after neat play by Lee Watkins but Stourbridge created openings on the break and just before the half hour Finlay Iron at to dive bravely amongst flying boots to smother the ball after Luke Benbow had directed a Robbie Thompson-Brown free kick across goal.   St Neots should have extended their lead before the break as Williams sent an ambitious effort high over the bar, Andrea Borg saw his effort blocked and Gary Wharton should have done better than shoot wide after neat play by Johnny Herd.   However the visitors always looked sharp in attack when they did break forward and the lively Benbow forced an important save from Iron in time added at the end of the first 45 minutes.

It looked a different Stourbridge side that emerged after the break.  They looked full of the confidence they seemed to have lacked in the first half and the St Neots side were pushed back on the defensive.   Iron became the busiest man on the field saving efforts by Benbow and Callum Powell, but St Neots did show some counter-attacking tendencies with Williams firing wildly over the bar after visiting keeper James Wren had saved well from Nabil Shariff, and Gary Wharton being only inches from a Watkins cross in front of a gaping goal.   However, it was the visiting side who were beginning to boss the game and after 58 minutes following a quickly taken free kick Luke Benbow levelled the scores with a smart finish.   Then just four minutes later St Neots conceded a second goal from a set piece.   A Thompson-Brown free kick found the head of Pierpoint drawing a fingertip save over the bar by Iron but from the result corner Paul McCone rose above the defence to put his side ahead.   Iron then produced a full-length save from Powell to keep St Neots hopes alive, and St Neots thought they had created an equaliser following a Herd corner, as Dan Olaniran curled in a shot that beat the keeper but clipped the crossbar.   St Neots then sent on two substitutes to freshen up their attack, but the experienced Stourbridge defence funnelled back to stifle their best efforts and the home side looked unable to seriously threaten the visitors’ goal.

  

St Neots:  Iron, Miles, Herd, Knight, Wood, Olaniran, Borg, Watkins, Shariff, Williams, Wharton

Subs:  Douglas (for Wharton 74 mins), Ofosu (for Borg 74 mins), Gomes and Fulianty.

Cards:  Knight (Y – 59 mins)

Goals:  Williams (14 mins)

 

Stourbridge:  Wren, Hayden, Aris, McCone, Pierpoint, Forde, Powell, Birch, Benbow, Thompson-Brown, Mills.

Subs:  Broadhurst (for Birch 57 mins), Anderson (for Powell 74 mins), Steele, Tonks and Maher

Cards:  Mills (Y – 34 mins), Pierpoint (Y – 66 mins), Forde (Y – 81 mins)

Goals:  Benbow (58 mins), McCone (62 mins)

 

Referee:  Shaun Barry (Northampton)

Attendance:  188

 

John Walker

 

Read 415 times