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Goals at either end of the game see The Saints home to another three points against Leiston

Wednesday, 09 January 2019 16:51

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town     2         Leiston       0

Back to back league victories for the first time this season has lifted St Neots three points clear of the relegation zone for the first time for a month.   Suffolk visitors Leiston visiting the Town for the first time were sent back down the A14 with little to show for their ninety minutes effort.   St Neots could and should have won by a greater margin for the were the dominant force in the first 45 minutes and more than shared possession after the break with home keeper Finley Iron have only one serious save to make.   This was in part tribute to a compact and confident display by St Neots’ central defenders Ryan Hughes and Taylor Parr who shackled the free scoring visiting attack that has netted more than twice the number of goals scored by the host side this season.   Undefeated in their last six games Leiston had climbed to the top half of the table after a poor November but they were well beaten in this encounter.   St Neots had an enforced team change when full back Matty Miles failed to recover from an injury sustained in the Royston game and so Scott Sinclair got his first start since returning to the side after a voluntary break.    However, St Neots kept their loyal group of noisy fans waiting because despite leading for more than ninety minutes they kept the faithful waiting until added time for the clinching goal from the penalty spot.

St Neots received a massive early boost when they scored their quickest goal of the season when Jordan Norville-Williams ghosted in at the neat post to flick home a Devante Stanley cross in just two minutes after St Neots had broken clear from a Leiston attack.   It was the youngster’s first goal of the season – deserved reward for his non-stop effort in both attack and defence.   St Neots’ early pressure continued with several corners and then after seven minutes a Dylan Williams free kick only just cleared the cross bar.   Williams was then the provider with a delightful reverse pass to Scott Pollock coming quickly forward from midfield, but his shot whistled just a foot wide with visiting keeper Marcus Garnham beaten.   James Hall still searching for his first goal since his return to the squad, then fired wide following a corner and the home side thought they were hard done by when Stanley was brought down in the penalty area, but justified penalty appeals were ignored by the Referee.   Finley Iron had to save at the feet of Kyle Hammond as Leiston struggled to get a meaningful attacking presence in the game and St Neots then created three good chances in the five minutes leading up to half time.   Williams showed sublime skill to outwit two defenders but saw his shot blocked by a third, Johnny Herd curled a shot wide of the far post and then Stanley set up Williams to force a good save from Garnham.

St Neots needed to quickly re-establish their confident approach after the interval and in the first minute Norville-Williams sped down the left leaving his marker in his wake and his cross split the defence, but Hall was unable to muster a meaningful finish.   Sebastian Dunbar had a shot deflected and when Scott Sinclair gave the ball away in midfield, Matthew Blake was left with time and space, but he delayed his shot and Ryan Hughes blocked at the expense of a corner.    Stanley then headed over the bar after 70 minutes and play then moved to the other end where a corner afforded defender Harry Knights with a free head, but he put the ball over the bar.     Another well-placed Williams free kick after 78 minutes brought the save of the match from Garnham and Hall then cut in but only found the side netting.   With time running down Leiston chanced their arms forward and the St Neots defence had to repel several promising attacking moves that came to nothing.   Then two minutes into added time home substitute Gary Wharton fired in a low cross to the near post handled by Knights and the Referee awarded the penalty for Dylan Williams to confidently stroke home for his fifth goal of the season to confirm the three points haul.   A late Leiston attack saw Taylor Parr clear off the St Neots line – the only real late threat to the home sides’ important victory.

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

Subs:  Wharton (for Stanley 73 mins), Rhiney and Gomes.

Cards:  Short (Y – 39 mins)

Goals:  Norville-Williams (2 mins), Williams – pen (90+2 mins)

 

Leiston:  Garnham, Keys, Dunbar, Nichols, Knights, Bullard, Lawrence, Hammond, Finch, Blake, Brothers

Subs:  Jefford (for Keys 46 mins), Davies (for Finch 71 mins), Cheetham (for Nicholls 86 mins), Boardley and Beckwith.

Cards:  Lawrence (Y – 25 mins), Blake (Y – 76 mins), Nicholls (Y – 84 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Mark Chalkley (Swaffham)

Attendance:  128

 

John Walker

 

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