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Unlucky not to get a result but a performance to be proud of for our young side

Wednesday, 06 February 2019 19:24

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Biggleswade Town       1         St Neots Town        0

An heroic performance by the least experienced St Neots side ever to play in the Southern League fell just eight minutes short of a deserved but unexpected League point at play-off chasing hopefuls Biggleswade.   The imposed austerity due to the club announcement of an immediate cutback in the budget, had seen the prompt departure of no fewer than six senior first team regulars and with three more on the injury list Manager Matt Clements had to call upon the youth team for reinforcements.   As a result eight changes were made in the starting line up with no fewer than five players handed a senior league debut for the side.   In all the team boasted less than a hundred St Neots senior starting line-ups between them but they belied the statistics and almost recorded a totally unpredictable result.   However, with more than a third of the season remaining, it was the performance on the night that was as important as the result and with Marc Abbott announced as the new Manager immediately after the match it is now an exciting new beginning for the side.   The Biggleswade side were naïve, perhaps believing they only had to turn up to collect the points, but the determination and effort of the young visiting side quickly made it clear that they were going to have to work hard for the points.   Significantly it was a Biggleswade substitute introduced to replace former St Neots player Dylan Williams that made the late breakthrough with the only goal of the match.

Williams had the first goal effort of the game after ten minutes, but he could only find the side-netting.   St Neots replied with a Joe Rider effort comfortably handled by Saints former keeper Sam Donkin.   Joe White then had the chance to open the scoring played clear in space by Williams, but he volleyed well wide.   Another effort by White from close range was deflected by Matt Miles – the fifth player to wear the St Neots captains’ armband this season.   As the game settled on the very heavy surface Rider had another effort saved but the best first half chance fell to Biggleswade’s Matt Ball after 31 minutes, whose shot was brilliantly turned over the bar by Finley Iron.   Biggleswade were shading possession indicated by a growing corner count but the St Neots defence playing together for the first time were resolute and determined.   From one of those corners, another former Saint, Jordan Gent won the ball in the air only to see it rebound from the crossbar to be cleared.   The half ended with a St Neots breakaway attach in which Jordan Norville-Williams shot over the bar.

A smart move at the start of the second half saw Ball and White combine on the left to set up Williams, but he volleyed over the bar and was shortly afterwards replaced by substitute Johnny McNamara.   Another Norville-Williams effort was wide from a Scott Pollock free kick and then new skipper Matt Miles joined the St Neots attack to short narrowly over the crossbar.   For a spell St Neots seemed to take the initiative with the impressive Jacob Joseph and Prince Mutswunguma both going close for St Neots but with the home side regrouping with all their substitutes utilised the visitors began to flag in the difficult conditions.   Gent again used his height and strength to carve out another shooting opportunity but saw his effort fly wide and Iron saved well from White.   The deciding moments came eight minutes from time when following another Biggleswade corner Johnny McNamara forced the ball home from close range in a goalmouth scramble.   It was a disappointing blow, but St Neots refused to submit and in a late show of defiance Pollock sent a lengthy effort just wide.

Biggleswade Town:  Donkin, Makoma, Walster, Forbes, Gent, Longe-King, Lucien, Williams, White, Ball, Nwaboukei

Subs:  McNamara (for Ball 63 mins), Clark (for Williams 66 mins), Donnelly (for Lucien 78 mins), Thomas and Bell.

Cards:  none

Goals:  McNamara (82 mins)

 

St Neots Town:  Iron, Miles, Fulianty, Rhiney, Hughes, Shaw, Joseph, Pollock, Rider, Mutswunguma, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Mutswunguma, Bissett-Clark (for Jacob 76 mins), Minall (for Mutswunguma 83 mins) Dunnett (for Fulianty 84 mins), O’Hara and Burberry.

Cards:  Mutswunguma (Y – 56 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Andrew Hitchcox 

Attendance:  188

 

John Walker

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