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A solid base to build on as The Saints secure opening day point at Bedworth

Saturday, 17 August 2019 19:02

BetVictor SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL DIVISION ONE

Bedworth United        0           St Neots Town       0

A draw to this season opener between two of the relegated teams was a fair outcome but St Neots boss Marc Abbott probably finished the happier of the two Managers.   A clean sheet is always good for morale but both sides had their chances with neither goalkeeper being seriously tested.   Last season at Bedworth St Neots lost to an injury time single goal so this was an improvement, but Abbott will be pondering over where his sides’ goals are going to come from.   Defensively St Neots looked sound and had the luxury of loanee defender Mikkel Fosu spectating from the bench but in the first half they looked nervous and unsure despite having wind advantage which they failed to exploit.   However, they finished the game the stronger of the two sides but still lacked the cutting edge in attack that could have produced a deciding goal.

The first twenty minutes were largely uneventful with the two sides cancelling each other out in midfield.   Bedworth wide man Lewis Chester looked capable of breaking the deadlock with some searching runs down either flank, but the finish was missing.   St Neots were guilty of conceding too many free kicks inside their own half which put them under unnecessary pressure and after 26 minutes a breakthrough looked imminent when a delightful cross field pass by Luke Rowe played Chester clear and only a last ditch recovery by Stevan Shaw saved the day for the visitors.   Rowe was then left unmarked from a set piece but headed tamely wide and from a Richard Blythe cross, Alexander Troke had his shot comfortably saved by James Philp.   As half time approached St Neots began to look more assured and when Joe Sutton was brought down on the edge of his opponents’ penalty area, Alfie Conner’s free kick was well saved by home custodian Adam Harrison who also parried another set piece from the same St Neots player.    Lee Watkins then sent a fierce shot just the wrong side of a post and the half ended with Troke heading over when he should have at least tested the keeper.

If St Neots had finished the first half on top, the home side exploded into life upon the restart with the widely travelled Mitchell Piggon having two headed attempts, but both were off target.  Tim N’Kala having a quiet match for the visitors did set up Sam Bennett on the hour but Harrison dived at his feet to save and shortly afterwards an injury to Conner forced St Neots into their first change with Mason Rhiney substituting.   Sam Gomersall also came on for N’Kala and these changes led to a change in fortune with St Neots beginning to dictate the pattern of play.   Bedworth replied with two substitutes of their own, but St Neots were creating openings and Harrison had to produce the first significant save of the match as he turned an Aaron Smith shot over the bar at full stretch,   Bennett then headed wide and the game lost some of its momentum with Referee James Cox losing patience and booking several players for relatively minor misdemeanours.   Having a quiet second half Bedworth danger man Chester had their final chance to snatch victory after a swift team move, but he shot wide and at the other end St Neots lengthy efforts by Rhiney and Watkins were comfortably saved by the home keeper.   ‘It is always good to get a clean sheet and an away point to kick off the season’ commented St Neots Assistant boss Sean Greygoose.

 

St Neots:  Philp, Kerins, Smith, Conner, Goode, Shaw, Watkins, Sutton, N’Kala, Bennett, Mutswunguma

Subs:  Gomersall (for N’Kala 63 mins), Rhiney (for Conner 63 mins), Fosu and Joseph.

Cards:  Mutswunguma (Y – 44 mins), Shaw (Y – 70 mins), Kerins (Y – 85 mins), Rhiney (Y – 90+2 mins)

Goals: none

 

Bedworth:  Harrison, Dudley, Steele, Parrott, Sharpe, Fitzharris, Chester, Blythe, Piggon, Troke, Rowe

Subs:  Blackmore (for Blythe 72 mins), Bailey-Nicholls (for Rowe 72 mins), Templeton, Anaele and McConnachie.

Cards:Sharpe (Y – 67 mins), Dudley (Y – 87 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  James Cox (Stourbridge)

Attendance:       211

 

John Walker

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