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Two game winning run comes to an end at Leiston

Saturday, 12 January 2019 21:41

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Leiston       2         St Neots Town        0

Just four days on from their first league meeting these two sides suffered contrasting fortunes in the quick return match.   St Neots had enforced team changes and seemingly far less method than in the first meeting and the result was a complete turn-around of score line and points reward.   With James Hall unavailable and the pair of Northampton Town loanee’s defender Ryan Hughes and midfielder Scott Pollock, recalled by their parent club to play in a youth fixture, St Neots welcomed back skipper Luke Knight after suspension and recalled Gary Wharton and Matt Miles – the latter after injury.   However, the visitors were far from their best – unable to put together any real convincing attacking moves, whilst the home side used the pitch well stretching the visiting defence to create openings, and despite playing with ten men for half an hour before a Neots red card levelled the numbers, they thoroughly deserved their victory.   St Neots looked only a shadow of the side that came into this match on the back of their first two consecutive league victories of the season and with a County Cup to defend in a midweek semi-final they must swiftly regroup and rebuild confidence.

St Neots almost conceded a goal in the opening minute when Luke Knight clumsily upended Kyle Hammond on the edge of the penalty area, but the home player climbed to his feet to send the free kick narrowly over the bar.   St Neots responded with a quick counter-attack as Devante Stanley fed Gary Wharton but he fired across goal from an oblique angle.   Finley Iron then had to save bravely at the feet of Hammond as Leiston began to assert themselves and Byron Lawrence sent Christy Finch clear, but he shot well wide as Iron narrowed his angle.   After 21 minutes the wily Jordan Norville Williams was crudely brought down by Harry Knights earning the home defender a straight red card – a chance for the visitors to push home their advantage.   However apart from one off-target effort by Stanley this never materialised and after Tom Bullard had headed against the bar for Leiston from a corner, they deservedly took the lead on the half hour when the unmarked Patrick Brothers was given far too much space on the left and he curled a sublime chip over the keeper and under the bar at the far post.   St Neots managed a brief rally as Dylan Williams had a net-bound shot blocked and a second well gathered by Marcus Garnham.   Before the break Luke Knight picked up a strange booking as he appeared to push one of his own players!

St Neots still sought to push home heir numerical advantage after the break but after Knight hadsent a free kick in a prominent position wide of target and after only six minutes of the second half, parity in numbers was restored when Devante Stanley became the second player in the match to be shown a straight red card after a late high tackle on Bullard.   St Neots regrouped with Norville-Williams pushed well forward but six minutes after the St Neots dismissal, the home side effectively clinched all three points with a second goal.   It came as a result of some shoddy defending with wide man Lawrence going past his marker to send in a low shot that was deflected to the unmarked Noel Aitkens at the far post for a simple tap-in goal.   Leiston quickly stated their objective of sitting on their enhanced advantage taking off two attacking players and defending deep in their own half challenging St Neots to take the game to them.   However they almost got a third goal on the break when Scott Sinclair missed a header presenting Brothers with an open chance, but he shot wide.   St Neots huffed and puffed with little result although they did try to play some constructive football to get the ball forward.    From a late free kick Taylor Parr had a header comfortably saved by Garnham and from a Sinclair cross Gary Wharton missed St Neots best chance for a late consolation goal, before bringing a good save from the home keeper with the final chance of the match.

Leiston:  Garnham, Knights, Dunbar, Boardley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence, Hammond, Aitkens, Finch, Brothers

Subs:  Bacon (for Boardley 58 mins), Davies (for Finch 77 mins), Cheetham (for Brothers 90+2 mins), Head and Lay-Fulcher.

Cards:  Knights (RED – 21 mins}

Goals:  Brothers (30 mins), Aitkens (57 mins)

 

St Neots:  Iron, Sinclair, Herd, Knight, Short, Parr, Stanley, Miles, Wharton, Williams, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Rhiney (for Williams 64 mins), Shaw and Gomes.

Cards:  Stanley (RED – 51 mins), Knight (Y – 36 mins)

Goals:  none

Referee:  Benjamin Bowles (Colchester)

Attendance:  208

 

John Walker

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