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Three Points, Clean Sheet and Wonderful Home Start For Marc Abbott

Sunday, 24 February 2019 08:29

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town        1         Barwell        0

St Neots Town recorded their first home win since 8th January and only their second in the last seven league outings, but more significantly their first win since the defection of eight senior players.   All this after they were rocked in the week by the news that regular goalkeeper Finley Iron had been recalled by his parent club Cambridge United after making 39 appearance for the side.   New Manager Marc Abbott moved quickly to sign Haverhill based Birmingham University student James Philip for a ‘baptism of fire’ as they hosted Barwell whom had won 6-1 in the first meeting of the two sides in December.   If there was a prize for sheer determination and commitment in addition to the three points, that would have been in the bag as well, after they had despatched their Leicestershire visitors.   They had to survive a torrid first half hour and ride their luck as the visitors were denied three times by the woodwork, but few could deny they deserved their reward with some heroic defending.   In addition to the replacement goalkeeper the Manager made two team changes leaving Mason Rhiney and Joe Rider on the bench in order to bring in Joe Sutton for his full debut as well as recalling Prince Mutswunguma.

Barwell began full of intent and confidence producing five shots on goal in the opening six minutes.  Two of those brought significant saves from the new keeper as he denied Jacob Whitmore with his legs before pushing a fierce shot from Nigel Julien around a post for a corner.   The one-way traffic continued but with less intensity as Daniel Durkin volleyed high over the bar and Elliott Percival’s effort was also too high after he had stolen in unmarked at the far post.   St Neots replied with a shot from Prince Mutswunguma that was comfortably saved and in another attack Joe Sutton’s delightful flick played in Gary Wharton, but he delayed his shot and was robbed.   After 23 minutes Jamie Towers could hardly believe his luck when his close range shot rebounded from a goalpost and then Durkin showed great skill to draw Philip from his line to chip over him towards goal, but Ryan Hughes got back to clear off the line.   Sutton looked lively for St Neots and visiting keeper Liam Castle needed two attempts to keep out his rising shot and then in the five minutes before the break Barwell created two chances that should have seen them take a lead into the break.   First Whitmore beat his marker to find the head of Dominic Brown-Hill, but his free header was wastefully too high and then Towers was left unmarked at the far post but saw his looping header bounce off the top of the crossbar to safety.

Upon the restart St Neots looked more confident and were only denied a goal after 49 minutes when Castle produced a superb full length save to deny Scott Pollock after the St Neots player had ridden three tackles.   A close-range Durkin header from a Percival cross rebounded from a post – the third time the woodwork had intervened, and by now St Neots stalwarts were beginning to think that this could be their day.   Their belief was further cemented when less than a minute after coming on as a substitute on the hour, a first-time delightful flick over the defence by Jacob Joseph freed Gary Wharton and his non-stop effort was rewarded as he claimed what was to be the winning goal.  However Barwell were not surrendering with a fight and they threw on attacking substitutes in a bid to retrieve their situation.   An Eliot Putman free kick was well saved by Philip, and substitute Jai Rowe shot wide when he should have at least tested the keeper.   St Neots one anxious moment came sixteen minutes from time when Philip mishandled an Alex Tomkinson cross and had Stevan Shaw to thank as the defender cleared off the line.    St Neots now had to concede possession and concentrate on defence but despite their pressure Barwell managed only one further significant shot by substitute Rowe that passed the wrong side of a post.   St Neots deservedly celebrated at the final whistle, and the confidence boost will have been almost as important as the victory.

 

St Neots Town:  Philip, Hood, Norville-Williams, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Beckley, Pollock, Wharton, Sutton, Mutswunguma

Subs:  Joseph (for Beckley 60 mins), Rider (for Wharton 81 mins), Rhiney (for Mutswunguma 87 mins) and Fulianty.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Wharton (61 mins)

 

Barwell:  Castle, Percival, Putman, Eze, Gascoigne, Julien, Whitmore, Brown-Hill, Durkin, Towers, Tomkinson

Subs:  Rowe (for Brown-Hill 66 mins), Nisevic (for Tomkinson 75 mins), Raven (for Whitmore 75 mins), Hickey and Desrosier.

Cards:  Towers (Y – 71 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Jeffrey Aldous (Bedford)

Attendance:  171

 

John Walker

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