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Must win game at Bedworth ends in defeat against previously win-less opposition

Saturday, 29 December 2018 21:07

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Bedworth United       1         St Neots Town     0      

This was a match that neither side could afford to lose.   Bedworth had failed to record a victory in their first 20 league matches whilst St Neots are being sucked into the relegation scrap, and they travelled knowing that victory would hand them a rare league double.  In the end it was decided by a single goal two minutes into added time scored by the oldest man on the field.   42 years old journeyman Iyseden Christie with several Football League clubs including Mansfield Town, Stevenage Borough and Coventry City on his CV plus around a dozen Southern League Clubs, came on as a second half substitute and was in the right place to sweep home a late goal through the tiring St Neots defence to earn Bedworth all three points.   Neither side were at their best and it was a rather scrappy encounter that had a goalless draw written all over it until the last few added seconds.   St Neots must now regroup and search for confidence as they kick off 2019 with three successive home fixtures.   Still in the three-side relegation area they were almost caught by the side below them as Halesowen recorded a surprise 2-0 victory over visiting Banbury.   With striker Nabil Shariff opting to return to Stratford where he had started the season, Manager Matt Clements installed Gary Wharton as his principle striker for his tenth start of the season, but he received little support but saw his best chance of glory ruined just four minutes before the winning goal, by the save of the match from home custodian Adam Harrison.  Also reinstated in the side was Johnny Herd, who replaced Tom Wood who was on the bench.

There was a pedestrian start to the match but after just ten minutes a hotly disputed free kick awarded twenty yards from goal saw Alexander Troke bend his effort around the wall to bring an outstanding save from Finley Iron at the expense of a corner.   Luke Rowe then volleyed over the bar following a second Bedworth corner, and St Neots first effort was a sixteenth minute lengthy shot from skipper Luke Knight that flew harmlessly wide.   For a spell there was very little goalmouth action as neither side were able to put together any penetrative attacking play but just past the half hour a cynical tackle on Jack Daldy earned Barry Fitzharris the first caution of the match.   Seven minutes before the break Wharton produced an impressive burst of speed to go clear of the home defence but Harrison advanced to the edge of his area to narrow the angle and parry the shot.   Just one minute later a volley by Daldy just cleared the Bedworth crossbar and the sides went to the half time break locked at stalemate.

St Neots looked the brighter side upon the resumption.   A well-constructed three man move involving Jordan Norville-Williams and Daldy ended with Matt Miles seeing his net-bound shot deflected for a corner and then Harrison saved well from a Daldy header.   After 69 minutes St Neots though they had broken through when Harrison dropped a cross from Norville-Williams, but an offside flag denied St Neots from capitalising.   After this spell of pressure Bedworth came more into the game and in one attack both Fitzharris and Rowe had shots blocked as the visiting defence did their job.   In the last fifteen minutes Bedworth looked the stronger side.   Montal Gibson was left unmarked on the left and he advanced on goal, but Iron saved well with his legs and from the resultant corner Fitzharris outjumped his marker but sent his headed effort wide of the far post.   With substitutes on both sides went for the winning goal in a hectic last eight minutes.   St Neots saw substitute Andrea Borg send a cross that was deflected, and the same player was skilfully set up by Wharton, but he shot wide.   The important late Harrison save from Wharton was St Neots final chance but they were completely deflated when Christie snatched the late, late winner.

Bedworth:  Harrison, Dudley, Rowe, Parrot, Albrighton, Sharpe, Hancocks, Fitzharris, Gibson, Troke, Blackmore

Subs:  Christie (for Fitzharris 66 mins), Story (for Gibson 81 mins), Tonge, Whitmore and Abraham

Cards:  Fitzharris (Y – 32 mins), Albrighton (Y – 88 mins)

Goals:  Christie (90+2 mins)

 

St Neots:  Iron, Short, Herd, Knight, Hughes, Parr, Daldy, Miles, Wharton, Williams, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Borg (for Norville-Williams 73 mins), Wood (for Daldy 83 mins) and Gomes

Cards:  Parr (Y – 76 mins), Knight (Y – 88 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Andrew Ellis (Solihull)

Attendance:  Not Published

 

John Walker

 

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