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Russell makes Short work of the points with a stunning winner

Sunday, 27 January 2019 11:04

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Needham Market       0         St Neots Town        1

St Neots recorded their first victory of 2019 and their first away league win since 23rd October as they avenged a 3-0 home reversal by their Suffolk hosts in their first meeting in November at the Premier Plus Stadium.   It was a strange day in the league with all six bottom clubs picking up at least a point – five of them playing away from home.  It was a changed St Neots line up with three players missing from the previous match all for different reasons.   Dylan Williams had departed from the Club to join neighbours Biggleswade Town, Ryan Hughes was unavailable and skipper Luke Knight was beginning a two-match ban as he serves his fourth suspension of the season.  Into their places came Jack Newell, another loanee from Northampton Town, and Tom Wood and Gary Wharton who were both on the substitutes bench for the Alvechurch match.   It was victory achieved in difficult circumstances for St Neots lost two players to injury in the first 45 minutes with two very inexperienced substitutes coming on in replacement.   Prince Mutswunguma was making only his second start for the side whilst seventeen years old youth starlet Jacob Joseph celebrated his senior debut.

St Neots had an excellent first half creating most of the openings for themselves whilst defensively looking very sound.  In the first five minutes Taylor Parr saw an opportunistic overhead effort just clear the cross bar and Gary Wharton broke clear on the right but his shot passed the wrong side of the far post.     Then after 20 minutes a Matt Miles corner was won in the air by Parr, but his header was scrambled off the line by a home defender.   Needham was enjoying plenty of possession, but they never created a clear chance in the opening half hour as the reshaped visiting defence looked untroubled.   Wharton limped off injured after just 27 minutes and his replacement Prince Mutswunguma quickly settled in to look creative playing just behind striker James Hall.  The first serious threat to the visiting goal came after 33 minutes when Taylor Parr stretched to clear an Adam Mills cross but the ball deflected to James Baker whose first shot was blocked and his follow-up effort was spectacularly tipped over the bar by Finley Iron.   A Mills cross saw the St Neots defence backpedalling, but the ball was too long and then Scott Sinclair had to limp off just before half time with a leg injury.

The visitors began the second half still looking comfortable and another Mills shot from distance was safely gathered by Iron.    Two left wing corner by Johnny Herd tested the home defence – the first only cleared as far as Russell Short who shot over but the second after 54 minutes saw a much more profitable replay of the first as the ball dropped to Short and his volley through a packed area beat home keeper Jake Jessup (once having played for the Saints) and it gave the defender his first goal for the Club on his 22nd appearance.   The home side redoubled their attacking effort and Callum Sturgess burst down the left, but his shot only found the side netting.   Young Joseph was not looking out of place and he confidently went past two opponents but shot wide and then the hard-working James Hall was robbed by a defender after chasing down a Jack Newell through pass.   With fifteen minutes remaining St Neots seemed to tire and Needham saw a way back into the match.   They began to exert pressure on the visiting defence and Luke Ingram headed over when he won a Mills cross.   Ingram then went clear of the defence but fired wildly over the bar and on a quick break Jordan Norville-Williams was hauled down making for goal earning the home defender a caution.  However, it was all Needham in the final five minutes as Joseph Marsden twice squandered good chances to earn his side a share of the points, both times firing high over the bar.  The home side did get the ball in the net two minutes from time, but the Referee had spotted a foul on Iron and awarded a free kick.   St Neots held out for a well-deserved and welcome three points.

 

Needham:  Jessup, Marsden, Sturgess, Squire, Morphew (K), Morphew (D), Ingram, Heath, Baker, Dobson, Mills

Subs:  Griffiths (for Dobson 66 mins), Kamanzi, Pelling, McLoughlin and Cook.

Cards:  Dobson (Y – 23 mins), Marsden (Y – 56 mins), Morphew (K) (Y – 83 mins)

Goals:  none

 

St Neots:  Iron, Miles, Herd, Wood, Short, Parr, Sinclair, Newell, Hall, Wharton, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Mutswunguma (for Wharton 27 mins), Joseph (for Sinclair 45+3 mins) and Rhiney

Cards:  Sinclair (Y – 21 mins), Parr (Y – 71 mins)

Goals:  Short (54 mins)

 

Referee:  Karl Sear (Chelmsford)

Attendance:  299

 

John Walker

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