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Young Saints put in spirited display at champions elect Kettering Town

Sunday, 24 March 2019 19:54


Kettering Town       2        St Neots Town        0       

A spirited performance against runaway league leaders Kettering Town was without tangible reward but a spirited second half performance after trailing 2-0 at the break was of great credit to the inexperienced visiting side.   This victory for the Northamptonshire hosts extended their lead at the top of the table to eleven points with just six matches remaining and now only a catastrophic run of form looks likely to rob them of the championship and resultant promotion to the National League.     With recent star player Dan Trendall unavailable and leading scorer Gary Wharton injured, St Neots selection problems were further complicated late in the week when Northampton Town recalled loan centre half Ryan Hughes for their EFL match at Cheltenham so into the side Marc Abbott drafted three additional youth side players Owen Dunnett, Joe Rider and Reif Clarke also recalling Harry Beckley for Prince Mutswumguna who was on the bench.

The revised starting balance of the visiting side was a contributory factor to a backs to the wall first 25 minutes in which Kettering dominated and threatened to run riot.   Visiting keeper James Philip was in constant action making two excellent saves in the first three minutes to deny a Rhys Hoeness snap shot and a well-placed Marcus Kelly free kick.   Hoeness in particular was the chief tormentor down either flank and he was twice denied when his efforts were either blocked or deflected.   The sheer pace of the home attack, that are the leading scorers in the league was frightening, but St Neots held out until the 16th minute when an unfortunate handball by Harry Beckley conceded a penalty kick which Hoeness confidently despatched to put Kettering ahead.   The home side thought they should have had a second spot kick when Dan Holman tumbled in the area but their appeals were waved away and then after 28 minutes St Neots first real shot from Beckley nestled on the roof of the net.   Lindon Meikle then had a net bound shot deflected and when Hoeness went clear skipper Matt Miles got back to rob him on the line at the expense of a corner ten minutes before the break.  It was only a temporary reprieve as from the cross the unmarked Declan Towers ghosted in to head past Philp.   St Neots tried to retaliate with some neat approach football but the home defence stood firm apart from a late chance for Joe Sutton who went clear but home keeper Paul White raced from his line to quell the danger.

The second half also began at breakneck speed as the home side again tried to dominate.   A cross-cum shot from the left by Hoeness beat Philip but rebounded from the far post and a follow-uo effort by Stohrer was cleared off theline.   Holman then squandered a great chance firing wildly over the bar and as the match aproached the hour mark, Mark Abbott reshaped his side with Leon Fulianty on at full back pushing the lively Jordan Norville-Williams forward to boost the attack.   Stohrer shot over the bar and Philip saved from Holman but now the Kettering attacking opportunities were drying up as Neots appeared to grow in confidence.  Prince Mutswunguna replaced the tiring Joe Rider who had been hard working up front with little support, and then after a dazzling run from the half way line, Norville-Williams tumbled in the penalty area but was only rewarded with a yellow card for allegedy diving.   Club Coach Ben Yeoman then made a surprise appearance as St Neots third substitute replacing Joe Sutton and he kept the home defence on their toes in the latter stages of the match.   Kettering did threaten to extend their lead five minutes from time when substitute Brett Solkhon clipped the crossbar with a dipping shot and Holman almost had the last word in added time when he cleverly turned his marker before shooting over the bar.   Against a very experieced home team, this will have been a useful learning curve for a St Neots side containing eight teenagers.


St Neots Town:  Philip, Hood, Norville-Williams, Miles, Dunnett, Shaw, Clarke, Rhiney, Rider, Sutton, Beckley

Subs: Fulianty (for Beckley 59 mins), Mutswunguma (for Rider 71 mins), Yeomans (for Sutton 78 mins) Hudson and Abbott.

Cards:  Norville-Williams (Y – 72 mins)

Goals: none


Kettering Town: White, Stohrer, Richens, Meikle, Holman, Milnes, Hoeness, Kelly-Evans, Kelly, Towers, Stanley

Subs:  Toseland (for Meikle 33 mins), Solkhon (for Milnes 81 mins), Brighton, Bradshaw and Rowe.

Cards: none

Goals:  Hoeness – pen (16 mins), Towers (35 mins)


Referee:              Steve Durnall (West Bromwich)

Attendance:       894

John Walker




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