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It's a Bank Holiday away win at Kempston for the fast improving Saints

Monday, 26 August 2019 19:50

BETVICTOR SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL DIVISION ONE

 

Kempston Rovers        0            St Neots Town        2

St Neots recorded their first league victory of the season at Kempston making their first trip to the home of their Bedfordshire hosts for twelve years.   In stiflingly hot conditions the two sides did well to serve up some end-to-end football and the key to the victory was the soundness of the St Neots defence and goalkeeper that seldom looked like being breached.   Another clean sheet on the road delighted Manager Marc Abbott and the welcome three points was achieved despite their being three team changes with Lee Watkins unavailable, Jake Noble starting on the bench and Prince Mutswunguma injured.    With one win and one defeat in the league to date, Kempston had returned from the East coast on Saturday with an FA Cup victory at Gorleston but they were unable to breach the solid St Neots back line.

Much travelled ex-Football League striker Izale McLeod produced the first attempt on goal after nine minutes for the home side but James Philp was quickly down at his near post to push the ball for a corner.   At the other end Alfie Connor found Sam Bennett in the penalty area but his free header was too high, and then at the other end another free header by Jake Newman, this time from a Gareth Hunt corner, was bundled off the line by a defender.   However, after these two Kempston openings the match settled with St Neots looking comfortable in possession.   After 20 minutes Joe Sutton looped a header over the bar after a searching run by Jake Kerins, but two minutes later the same St Neots player was scythed down as he made for the bye line and a penalty kick was awarded confidently tucked away by Alfie Connor.   Home keeper Carl Knox then saved well from Sutton but Kempston came back just before the break with Ben Shepherd volleying wide following a Gareth Hunt corner and then a Hunt free kick was comfortably gathered by James Philp.   The half ended with a McLeod volley blocked on the line by Stevan Shaw and St Neots went to the break just about deserving their slender advantage.

Kempston tried to vary their approach after the break with two substitutes on and an extra player in attack.   However, the significant breakthrough came after 52 minutes when a quickly taken short corner by Connor found skipper Jake Kerins unmarked and he produced a superbly struck narrow angled shot into the roof of the net past the surprised home keeper to give St Neots their two goals advantage.   Briefly Kempston went on the offensive but limited to lengthy shots on goal, Shepherd and McLeod saw efforts comfortably handled.   St Neots sent on Jacob Noble and St Neots began to dominate centre field possession whilst N’Kala’s pace down the flanks kept the home defence busy.  The most significant second half incident came after 72 minutes when from a Hunt corner, Alfie Powell was given too much room and his powerful header produced a significant one-handed reaction save from Philp.   Had that gone in it would have handed the initiative to the home side but they began to flag in the heat and there few serious attempts on the St Neots goal in the last twenty minutes.    Meantime visiting substitutes, recent signing Dylan Logan and Jake Noble, both carved out chances that could have further increased the lead, but both efforts were narrowly off-target.

Video highlights courtesy of SNTtv can be found here: https://youtu.be/dV7ZGTVDQik

 

St Neots Town:  Philp, Kerins, Smith, Connor, Goode, Shaw, Sutton, Rhiney, N’Kala, Bennett, Joseph

Subs:  Noble (for Rhiney 60 mins), Logan (for Bennett 79 mins), Walker (for Joseph 82 mins,  and Abbott.

Cards:  N’Kala (Y – 70 mins)

Goals: Connor – pen – (25 mins), Kerins (52 mins)

Kempston Rovers:  Knox, Goodman, Hyde, Wright, Powell, Jones, Boland, Shepherd, Newman, McLeod, Hunt

Subs:  Stratton (for Newman 46 mins), Beldon (for Jones 46 mins), Dahle (for Hyde 58 mins), McGrath and Shortt.

Cards:McLeod (Y – 78 mins), Beldon (Y – 85 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Steven Parkinson (Watford)

Attendance:       143

John Walker

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