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A point earned on the road in a truely bizarre match

Sunday, 03 March 2019 13:51

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Redditch United        1         St Neots Town        1

A point away at Redditch is on paper an acceptable return as the St Neots youngsters find their feet in their new surroundings but with the equalising goal coming three minutes into added time from a host side with just EIGHT players on the pitch, it felt like a defeat on the way home. The match was marked and eventually dominated and spoiled by an over-zealous Referee who finished up with a tally of nine yellow cards and three reds. To the casual reader of these facts it sounds like it was a physical bad-tempered affair but that is nowhere near the truth. The majority of the cautions were for dissent – either verbal of frustratedly kicking the ball away when a free kick was awarded – several times in error – although two of Redditch’s dismissals were straight red cards for cynical and dangerous fouls.   In the final analysis St Neots were guilty of being caught out by their own inexperience because their tactics were not good as they failed to take full advantage of their growing numerical advantage and should not have been caught lacking defensive concentration in that added time.  Overall the performance was encouraging as they held their opponents at bay after stealing an early lead, and they received a massive boost when rookie goalkeeper James Philp saved a first half penalty kick in only his second appearance for the club. However, it will go down as two points lost when a victory would have lifted them out of the relegation zone.   There was just one team change with Mason Rhiney preferred to Harry Beckley in midfield.

The visitors got the perfect start when after just three minutes Scott Pollock sent a though ball in the heart of the home defence and GARY WHARTON, with his back to goal, sidestepped a challenge and hit a low shot past Adam Whitehouse for his second goal in successive matches. Two minutes later he won a header from a Pollock free kick which passed the wrong side of a post. Redditch thought they should have had a penalty after 20 minutes when Philp was exposed, and he rushed from his line to collide with Jack Storer but the Referee waved play on. With two player booked early in the first half the home side looked frustrated and created few openings but from a Robbie Bunn corner Richard Batchelor should have got his free header on target. On the break, St Neots were looking good with Joe Sutton only inches wide after good work by Mason Rhiney and a lengthy Pollock shot well saved by Whitehouse. Five minutes before the break Redditch pressed and won a penalty kick following a handball offence by a defender. Leading home marksman, Danico Johnson, hit a fierce effort to Philp’s right, but the keeper guessed correctly and parried the effort. Then approaching the break Pollock was cynically brought down by Batchelor to earn the first red card of the afternoon so Redditch went to the break a man down.

Unfortunately the injury sustained by the inspirational Pollock in that incident meant he was unable to continue after the break, so Harry Beckley came on as his replacement. Redditch also made two early second half substitutions and one of them Michael Nelson quickly tested Philp and the keeper also saved well from Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham. Although Redditch were clearly intent on an attacking approach and were able to dominate possession despite being that man short, they created few direct openings as the match became a midfield contest with the Referee taking the attention as he flashed his cards. After 72minutes Michael McGrath got on the end of a Robbie Bunn corner and pushed the ball over the line with a hand. Already booked, he picked up a second yellow card and an early bath. At that stage St Neots, should have tried to push home their advantage but they concentrated on containing the home side. The final five minutes plus four added were manic with three more yellow cards and a straight red card for Jamie Ashmore. However, in the third added minute, Bunn was left unmarked to fire in a low shot to earn an unlikely point for the home side.                                       

 

Redditch United:  Whitehouse, Ashmore, Bowen, McGrath, Parsons, Evans, Leachman-Whittingham, Bunn, Johnson, Storer, Batchalor

Subs:  Nelson (for Storer 46 mins), Howards (for Evans 53 mins), Franklin (for Howards 73 mins), Stoddart and Wright.

Cards:  Batchalor (RED – 44 mins), McGrath (RED – 72 mins), Ashmore (RED – 87 mins), Evans (Y – 28 mins), Parsons (Y – 35 mins), Bowen (Y – 85 mins)

Goals:  Bunn (90 + 3 mins)

 

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

Subs:  Beckley (for Pollock 46 mins), Rider (for Sutton 76 mins), Fulianty (for Wharton 83 mins)

Cards:  Pollock (Y – 39 mins), Sutton (Y – 47 mins), Hood (Y – 63 mins), Mutswunguma (Y – 66 mins),

Fulianty (Y – 85 mins), Beckley (Y – 90 + 4)

Goals:  Wharton (3 mins)

 

Referee:  Gareth Davis (Loughborough)

Attendance:  221

 

John Walker

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