Written by  John Walker
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Another red card and ensuing defeat for St Neots against Alvechurch

Saturday, 19 January 2019 20:16

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town       0        Alvechurch       3

The outcome of this match hinged on an ugly 51st minute incident which resulted in a red card for a visiting official and two yellow cards for home players – the one for home skipper Luke Knight a second in the match, and a sending off.   It appeared that St Neots had been denied the chance of taking a quick throw-in bringing Referee Andrew Humphries into consultation with a colleague to sort out the melee before meeting out the punishments.    Sadly this was a case of St Neots being responsible for their own misfortune because the loss of a player as they sought to get back into the game proved to be a fatal blow.   It was the second dismissal for the Saints’ skipper this season and in addition to twelve cautions, it has resulted in his disciplinary punishments seeing him missing almost half of St Neots’ matches.   It was overall a very disappointing performance by the home side who are now mired in a relegation fight with only just over a third of the season remaining.  With one of his Northampton loanee players recalled at short notice and Devante Stanley starting a three matches suspension, Manager Matt Clements recalled Taylor Parr, Russell Short and Scott Sinclair leaving Tom Wood and Mason Rhiney on the substitutes bench.

Alvechurch took control of the attacking play from the start.   A loose clearance fell to Raheem Nabie after just two minutes, but his shot was deflected, and then a Josh Ezewele corner was pulled back to Josh March who shot high over the bar.  It was therefore no surprise when the visitors went ahead after 12 minutes as an Ezewele free kick found Kieran Cook unmarked and he headed past Finley Iron.   St Neots first shot on goal after 12 minutes by Johnny Herd was deflected for a corner and the ball was cleared quickly to March who free shot was comfortably saved by Iron.   Cook could have added to the score but skied his effort over the bar and from a Tom Turton corner, March won the ball in the air, but Iron saved well.   An initial midfield flare up saw Luke Knight and Cook booked as tempers frayed and St Neots desperate to get a toe hold into the game did create a good chance with Dylan Williams and Jordan Norville-Williams combining well, but Scott Sinclair fired well wide.   The first half ended with Nabie player clear of a square lying defence, but his effort was too high.

St Neots looked more positive after the break but before they could really test the visiting defence the unfortunate (but unnecessary) flare up outside the visitors’ bench saw them reduced to ten men and a quick rethink of tactics required.   They responded by introducing Tom Wood to boost their attacking options in midfield, sacrificing Sinclair who was playing wide right but before the substitute made any impact the visitors carved out a second goal to leave the home side with a mountain to climb.   It came after 66 minutes as Tom Turton beat his marker on the side line and his accurate cross saw Lee Chilton arrive late from the left flank to head past the stranded Iron.   Wood had a shot blocked as St Neots rallied and a second substitute, Gary Wharton saw his effort blocked after good play by Williams.   Alvechurch was then reduced to ten men when Ash Carter was dismissed for violently disputing a corner kick decision but by then the visitors were back firmly in control and they rounded off a comfortable victory and a league double when the lively Chilton stole in at the far post to claim his second goal of the match from a Rahim Nabie cross in a breakaway attack six minutes from time. 

Many of the rather sparse crowd had left before this third goal no doubt ruminating on how St Neots can get back to consistency of performance and enough points to retain their place at their current level of football.

St Neots Town:  Iron, Miles, Herd, Knight, Hughes, Parr, Sinclair, Short, Hall, Williams, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Wood (for Sinclair 60 mins), Wharton (for Hall 70 mins) and Rhiney

Cards:  Knight (RED – 2 x Y – 35 & 51 mins), Herd (Y – 48 mins), Sinclair (Y – 51 mins), Miles (Y – 59 mins), Wharton (Y – 77 mins).

Goals:  none

 

Alvechurch:  Crane, Ezewele, Foster, Turton, Morrison (K), Carter, Nabie, Cook, Lloyd, March, Chilton

Subs:  Morrison (T) (for Cook 73 mins), Landell (for Lloyd 77 mins), Llewellyn (for Turton 89 mins, Willets and Parsons

Cards:  Carter (RED – 73 mins), Cook (Y – 35 mins)

Goals:  Cook (12 mins), Chilton 2 (66 & 84 mins)

 

Referee:  Andrew Humphries (Daventry)

Attendance:  198

 

John Walker

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