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Rhiney rocket not enough as Rushall snatch the points with late penalty winner

Monday, 15 April 2019 21:05

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Rushall Olympic       3        St Neots Town       2 

Ben Bradley and Mason Rhiney both scored their first ever goals for St Neots and the visitors led twice but back came Rushall with two goals in the final eight minutes take all three points.   With Lowestoft mirroring St Neots achievements of seven days earlier with victory at Hitchin the combination of those results left St Neots teetering on brink of relegation eight points below their Norfolk rivals with each having three games to play.   With their vastly superior goal difference Lowestoft now need a single point from those three games to despatch St Neots down to Step Four.    With St Neots’ four U18 players in the squad facing their third match in four days a victory over mid-table Rushall was a big ask and with loan full back Jordan Norville-Williams injured and unable to re-join the squad, Manager Marc Abbott left Jacob Joseph and Owen Dunnett on the bench recalling Joe Hood and fit again Dan Trendall.    James Philip was back between the posts and was to be in early action.   After the home side had come back twice to level the scores with eight minutes left it looked like a well-deserved if meaningless point for St Neots but a cruel very harsh penalty decision three minutes from time gave Rushall the opportunity to steal all three points.   The result was particularly unkind to central defenders Ryan Hughes and Stevan Shaw who were magnificent, but the outcome was all part of the reality of senior football where sometime just deserts are not achieved.

Early sparring saw home defender Sam Whittall head over the bar and Dan Trendall at the other end produced a trademark turn and shot that was only inches too high.   Around the quarter of an hour mark James Philip was twice called upon to block a low effort by Ashley Sammons and then turn a second effort by the home player around a post for a corner.  Rushall began to dominate as Tyler Lyttle shot over the bar, a Whittall header was deflected for a corner and a towering header by Orrin Pendley was cleared off the line by Ryan Hughes.   However, St Neots came back into contention in the final ten minutes of the half as skipper Matt Miles saw a shot deflected and then they won a free kick floated in by Mason Rhiney and Ben Bradley fired just too high.   However, six minutes before the break he made up for that disappointment by putting St Neots ahead as he was in the perfect place to convert a cross from Trendall who had outpaced his marker.   This narrow lead at the break was well-deserved for the work rate alone displayed by the visitors.

After a Miles cross had been acrobatically saved by home keeper Matthew Sargeant, the home side hit back with an equalising goal as Benjamin Lund headed a cross back for Simeon Moye to hit a low short beneath the diving Philip after 55 minutes but St Neots regained their advantage just two minutes later when Mason Rhiney made space for himself 30 yards from goal to send a dipping shot over the keeper.    However, the home Manager replied by sending on his two final permitted substitutes and adopting a wider more attacking approach.   Now St Neots under the defensive direction of Ryan Hughes had to be at their best but Rushall were hampered when goalkeeper Sergeant limped off with a groin strain meaning that defender Sam Whittall had to don the gloves.   However, he was rarely tested whilst Sammons a substitute Aram Soleman tested Philip.   With eight minutes left the home pressure paid off as Soleman crossed from the right and a powerful headed by Daniel Waldron levelled the scores.   Five minutes later a mis-timed tackle by Rhiney felled Soleman and the Referee awarded a penalty confidently tucked away by the home emergency goalkeeper Sam Whittle to the delight of the home supporters.   Elsewhere Kettering became divisional champions to earn Step Two football next season as they defeated Halesowen to condemn them to Step Four in August.

St Neots Town:  Philp, Hood, Fulianty, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Mutswunguma, Rhiney, Trendall, Bradley, Sutton

Subs: Dunnett (for Bradley 85 mins), Rider (for Sutton 90+1 min), Joseph (for Mutswunguma 90+1 min) and Abbott.

Cards:  none

Goals: Bradley (39 mins), Rhiney (57 mins)

Rushall Olympic:  Sergeant, Lyttle, Smikle, Smith, Whittall, Pendley, Waldron, Maye. McDonald, Sammons, Lund

 Subs:  O’Callaghan (for Sergeant 62 mins), Berry (for Smith 67 mins), Soleman (for McDonald 67 mins), Adelekan and Bridgewater.

Cards:none

Goals:  Maye (55 mins), Waldron (82 mins), Whittall – pen – (87 mins)

 

Referee:  Ryan Williams (Coventry)  

Attendance:       203

 

John Walker

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