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Saints earn share of the points with a well earned draw at St Ives

Monday, 22 April 2019 19:59

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Ives Town       0        St Neots Town       0 

This was only St Neots third clean sheet in the fifteen games since the mass defection of players, but it afforded them the point they needed to ensure finishing above the two sides below them.   It also gave them the satisfaction of not conceding a league double to their neighbours St Ives Town who needed to win if they were to achieve their best-ever finish in the Premier Division.   In front of a shirt-sleeved Bank Holiday crowd St Neots defended well in a match that had an end-of-season feel to it, and the host side really failed to take advantage of their visitors’ inexperience.   St Neots made just the one change in the side beaten at home 48 hours earlier bringing back specialist defender Leon Fulianty and preferring Prince Mutswunguma to Joe Sutton in attack.   St Ives with several injured players missing looked unbalanced and the nearest they came to beating visiting keeper James Philip was one shot that rebounded from the woodwork.   The result may have boosted St Neots’ confidence ahead of their final match of the season against Halesowen next Saturday with the only incentive for either side being to treat the occasion as a relegation party.

St Ives started well when in the third minute in the first attacking move a long Mark Coulson throw was flicked on and Ollie Snaith attempted an ambitious volley that flew just wide of a post.    After just seven minutes St Neots suffered a severe blow as skipper Matt Miles was injured and forced to leave the field with striker Joe Rider replacing him and Ben Bradley moving back into midfield in a reshuffle.   Robbie Parker then won the ball and picked out Morgan Penfold who beat his marker to curl a shot wide and although the hosts were enjoying superior possession, they created little.   Jacob Joseph claimed St Neots first significant attempt on goal for the visitors after 28 minutes but home keeper Martin Conway saved comfortably and two minutes later St Neots suffered another setback as Bradley sustained a nasty cut above his left eye forcing his side to play four minutes one man short as he received off the pitch treatment.   St Ives then received a potential opening when a long ball forward by Coulson seemed to slow up between Ryan Hughes and James Philip and an eagle-eyed Assistant Referee indicated that the custodian had gathered the ball inches outside his area.  Parker played a short free kick into the path of Andrew Osei-Bonsu and his finish beat the visiting keeper but rebounded from the crossbar to safety.   Just before the break the same St Ives player was denied again when his free header flew wide when he was set up by former Saint Tom Wood.

St Ives made an enforced change after the break with the lively Penfold limping and George Bailey was his replacement.    Wood then shot well wide as the home side upped their attacking efforts, but this seemed to leave gaps in defence and Joe Rider tried an opportunistic chip that was deflected over the bar.   Substitute Bailey then tested Philip and then St Ives conceded a free kick on the edge of the area that came to nothing.  St Neots seemed to grow in confidence as the match drifted into the final quarter of an hour and Bradley dispossessed an opponent and looking up picked out the dangerous Dan Trendall who had tirelessly fought a one-man battle with the home defence.   He broke past the square lying defence and as the keeper narrowed his angle, he chipped the ball goal-wards, only for Owen Wallis to recover to acrobatically scoop the ball off the line, but only as far as Rider whose follow-up effort was gratefully grabbed by the recovering goalkeeper.   In the final five minutes St Neots created two potential match winning openings – both balls out of defence to find Trendall on the right.  On both occasions he was cynically upended by defenders earning first Owen Wallis and then Munashe Sundire yellow cards.    The final action was another Wood shot wide of target and St Neots had deserved their share of the spoils in what will be the final local Saints league clash for at least one season.

St Neots:  Philip, Hood, Fulianty, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Joseph, Rhiney, Trendall, Bradley, Mutswunguma

Subs: Rider (for Miles 7 mins), Sutton (for Mutswunguma 61 mins), Hudson (for Joseph 79 mins) and Clarke.

Cards:  Philip (Y – 39 mins), Bradley (Y – 44 mins), Sutton (Y – 66 mins)

Goals: none

St Ives:  Conway, Sundire, Coulson, Wood, Wallis, Wilson, Penfold, Parker, Osei-Bonsu, Snaith, Seymour-Shove

Subs:  Bailey (for Penfold 46 mins), Newman (for Seymour-Shove 76 mins), Baker (for Snaith 86 mins), Ward and Griffiths.

Cards:Snaith (Y – 64 mins), Wallis (Y – 85 mins), Sundire (Y – 88 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Alex Rayment (Dunstable)  

Attendance:       351

 

John Walker

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