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Taylor Parr sends the Saints fans home delirious with late winner against Royston

Saturday, 05 January 2019 22:09

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town     1         Royston Town       0

This long awaited third home league victory of the season was a fully deserved reward for a determined St Neots performance.  They were having to avenge a 5-0 defeat at Royston earlier in the season and they went into the match on the back of five successive league and cup defeats at the Premier Plus Stadium.   Mid-table Royston nine places ahead of their hosts were unbeaten in their last three matches and began the match in a very positive way but St Neots matched them, and the result was a competitive encounter in the grey chilly conditions.   The home side were without two key players – skipper Luke Knight and utility player Tom Wood – both serving suspensions, and

Manager Matt Clements again shuffled his pack making four changes including a debut for seventeen years old impressive Northampton Town loanee Scott Pollock, but this time he significantly got the formula right.   Into the side came full backs Matt Miles, Johnny Herd and Devante Stanley but the most significant change was the midfield pairing of Pollock and veteran Russell Short who had spent the last couple of months in defence.

There was an explosive start to the match with each side close to taking the lead twice in the opening quarter of an hour.   St Neots shook off their ‘slow starters’ tag creating the first two chances only to be denied by some excellent goalkeeping by visiting custodian Joe Welch.   Back in the side Devante Stanley found Dylan Williams on the edge of the area and his clever turn wrongfooted his marker but the keeper pushed his low shot away to be cleared.   Then James Hall was twice involved in prising open the visiting defence as he collected a neat return pass from Jordan Norville-Williams only for the keeper to smother bravely at his feet.   Play moved to the other end where Ryan Hughes save his side clearing off the line from Vance Bola, and Tom Newman squandered a good opening shooting wide after good work by Josh Castiglione.   The pace never really slackened with both sides playing attacking football as Finley Iron saved well from a Joe Newton free kick and Rohdell Gordon fired over after good play by Bola.   Royston had to make an early substitution when Newman limped off injured, but his replacement Sam Corcoran quickly made an impact as he saw his effort rebound from the crossbar.   Visiting skipper Dan Braithwaite robbed Devante Stanley when a St Neots goal looked certain and then Norville-Williams sent a free kick over the bar.   Castiglione had the final first half chance, but Finley Iron saved well, and the sides went to the break wondering how the match was still goalless.

Corcoran found the woodwork for a second time with a cross that bounced on top of the bar four minutes after the restart and Norville-Williams set up Stanley, but he fired wildly over the bar.   After 56 minutes Royston got the ball in the net following a Castiglione cross, but St Neots were saved by an Assistant Referee’s flag and with Hughes suffering an injury, Scott Sinclair became the first St Neots’ substitute with Short moving back into defence.   From a Williams free kick Hall fired wide after 73 minutes and then the industrious Scott Pollock set up Williams following a corner, but his effort was blocked by a defender.   The pace slackened but St Neots were still the more impressive with Norville-Williams teasing the visiting defence with his pace.   Pollock was driving St Neots forward and Hall had another effort blocked by a defender and in a bid to boost his tactics Clements sent on Mason Rhiney urging his players to go in search of a winning goal.   It eventually arrived eight minutes from time.  A long Johnny Herd throw was returned to him and his second cross was powered into the net by Taylor Parr – appropriate reward for he had been a defensive stalwart for the home side.   St Neots held out for the last few minutes and added time without the visitors’ threatening to spoil the party and now they must build on both confidence and this result in the second half of the season.

St Neots:  Iron, Miles, Herd, Short, Hughes, Parr, Stanley, Pollock, Hall, Williams, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Sinclair (for Hughes 61 mins), Rhiney (for Miles 78 mins), Wharton and Gomes.

Cards:  Stanley (Y – 36 mins)

Goals:  Parr (82 mins)

 

Royston:  Welch, Joseph, Newton, Thomas, Murray, Braithwaite, Castiglione, Mentis, Bola, Newman, Gordon

Subs:  Corcoran (for Newman 26 mins), Gallin (for Gordon 68 mins), Scott-Morriss (for Castiglione 68 mins), Green and Oswick.

Cards:  none

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Mark Stevens (Milton Keynes)

Attendance:  268

 

John Walker

 

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