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A night to forget after traffic chaos and then the Saints are Wel(wyn) beaten

Thursday, 17 October 2019 16:03


Welwyn Garden City        7            St Neots Town        1       

It was hardly ideal preparation for an important away midweek match.   Most of St Neots’ players and officials (plus the Referee and his Assistants) were held up on the A1(M) because of a serious accident, for more than an hour and three quarters in stationary traffic on the way to the match.   As a result, the start was delayed, and the match eventually kicked off at 8.30 pm.    Not the perfect start for St Neots three recent additions to the squad all who made their debut at Welwyn.   The host side flying high at present with only one defeat in eight league starts, plus two victories over Premier Division teams in the League Cup, proved just two good for St Neots, and inflicted on them their heaviest ever Southern League defeat, and their worst league reversal for 13 years.   It must have been a salutary experience for the three newcomers to the side, forwards Alan Musoke from Amersham Town and Daniel Olusemo from Royston Town,  and midfielder Mikey Davis from Cambridge City, who had little opportunity to show their potential.   They replaced Prince Mutswunguma, Sam Bennett, Sam Gomarsall and Stevan Shaw in the starting line-up with Jake Noble recalled to the side.   There are now two further away trips to Thame (Saturday) and Biggleswade FC (Wednesday) to regroup and try to salvage some pride.


St Neots looked good enough in the very early stages, but they were rocked back on their heels when Welwyn went ahead after seven minutes in their first attack in which they won a corner from which home skipper Dave Keenleyside volleyed into the net.   That seemed to set a pattern for the first half with Callum Stead rampant for Welwyn on the right and Elliot Bailey and Eusebio Da Silva squandering promising openings.   St Neots one clear chance was a breakaway attack in which the home keeper came 30 yards from his line to head clear and although James Philp saved well from Stead the pressure was growing.   After 28 minutes the home side doubled their advantage when from a Lee Close free kick, Da Silva knocked the ball down to the unmarked Elliot Bailey to convert and four minutes later the same Welwyn player scored again after more unselfish play from Da Silva.   St Neots look shell-shocked and having to defend in numbers on a permanent basis but there was more punishment to come four minutes before half time when Dave Keenleyside unleashed a powerful shot from 35 yards that seemed to mesmerise the St Neots goalkeeper and establish his side with a game-winning 4-0 lead.

St Neots needed to dig deep to find a device to stop the non-stop attacking from the home side but any plan to do this was further damaged just three minutes after the restart when Elliot Bailey completed a twenty minutes hat trick to make it 5-0 before making way to a substitute to deserved rapturous home applause.   St Neots also sent on two substitutes and seemed to be able to stem the flow for around twenty minutes during which time full back Jake Kerins pulled back a consolation goal – his second from outside the area this season.   However, towards the end the home side began to assert themselves again as St Neots seemed to tire, and eleven minutes from time Callum Stead produced Welwyn’s sixth goal with a solo effort.   Three minutes later Kerins almost scored a second goal for the visitors – another lengthy effort that beat the home keeper but rebounded from the crossbar.   Predictably Welwyn had the last word as substitute Tony Cathline completed the scoring through a weary St Neots defence.

St Neots: Philp, Kerins, Smith, Noble, Boxer, Goode, Bradley, Watkins, Musoke, Alusemo, Davies


Subs:  Sutton (for Noble 54 mins), Shaw (for Boxer 54 mins), Mutswunguma (for Davies  73 mins), Connor and Bennett.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Kerins (65 mins)


Welwyn:  Tavares, Bradshaw,  Alomenu, Walklin, Rolfe, Close, Stead, Ironton, Da Silva, Keenleyside, Bailey

Subs:  Ebengo (for Da Silva 61 mins), Cathline (for Bailey 61 mins), Payne (for Stead 69 mins), Mensah and Smaldone.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Bailey 3 (28, 32 and 48 mins), Keenleyside 2 (5 & 41 mins), Stead  (68 mins) and Cathline (77 mins)


Referee:  Ryan Dix (Milton Keynes)

Attendance:       125


John Walker


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