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No luck this week for Saints against ten man opposition at Kidlington

Sunday, 01 December 2019 15:32



Kidlington       1           St Neots Town        0           

For the second consecutive match St Neots found themselves playing for more than half the game against ten men, but on this occasion, they failed to take advantage and returned home pointless from Kidlington.   Once again, the failure of Marc Abbott’s side to score goals cost them dear because they easily outnumbered their hosts with chances as they dominated possession, especially after the break, but some determined defending and a helping of good fortune kept the home goal intact.   However, the result laid bare the problem facing Marc Abbott and his coaching team.   In the final third of the field there was a lack of finishing to the extent that the home keeper never had a serious save to make after his side were reduced to ten man.   St Neots employed a 4-1-4-1 formation, but this system only works to satisfaction if the wide men in midfield support the front runner.   Last week in their victory over Wantage they did – at Kidlington they did not.   As a result, striker Alan Musoke was left with the task of getting the better of two and three defenders at a time with very little or no support.  Excluding last weeks’ five goals romp at the expense of the bottom side St Neots have now scored just five goals in their last ten outings – figures that speak for themselves.  There were three changes in the starting line-up – two of them enforced.   With leading scorer Prince Mutswunguma out injured and Panny Boxer unavailable into their places came Ben Bradley and Jonny Butler – the latter after suspension, whilst Sam Gomarsall was preferred to Lewis Foster who was on the bench.


The opening phase was competitive but even with both side creating openings.   A Ben Bradley shot was deflected, Marvin Martin volleyed over from close range and James Philp had to save at the feet of Leam Howards.    The keeper also saved well from Lewis Coyle whilst Bradley saw a second effort deflected for a corner after neat work by Alan Musoke.   The goal when it arrived was fortunate for Kidlington because St Neots had failed to clear following a corner and from the edge of the area Declan Benjamin hit a low shot through a crowd of players past the unsighted Philp.   As St Neots hit back Sam Goode had a looping header from a Lee Watkins free kick well saved by Christian Lawrence, and then Joe Sutton saw his fierce volley deflected over the crossbar.  The first half flashpoint came five minutes before the break when Sutton clashed with home skipper Lewis Coyle and with the Referee seeming slow to act players from both sides piled in to ‘assist’ and after the melee was calmed Coyle was sent off, with Sutton and visiting skipper Lee Watkins both issued with yellow cards along with Marvin Martin from Kidlington.   The half then fizzled out with the break coming as a relief to both Managers as they sought to reinstate discipline.


For obvious reasons the home side lined up defensively upon the restart seeking first to retain their narrow advantage.   Apart from a Bradley free kick that failed to trouble the home keeper, St Neots made little use of their numeric advantage, but on the break, Kidlington looked dangerous and the St Neots defence had to be careful not to be dragged too far forward.   The twice St Neots did look dangerous was from lengthy throws from Aaron Smith but when the home defence failed to clear the finishing touch was always missing.   With twenty minutes remaining St Neots made a positive move varying their tactics to try to utilise their extra man, taking off defensive midfielder Jonny Butler and pushing Lewis Foster on as an additional attacker.   His one effort flew wide and then as a final throw of the dice St Neots went three in defence pushing Tom Boxer forward to supplement the attack in the last ten minutes.   In that final period several shots from St Neots were blocked by the resolute and packed Kidlington defence who were clearly delighted to hold out for their second consecutive League victory lifting then well clear of the relegation zone.


St Neots Town: Philp, Shaw, Smith, Butler, Goode, Boxer (T), Watkins, Gomarsall, Musoke, Bradley, Sutton


Subs:  Foster (for Butler 69 mins), Stokes (for Gomersal 64 mins), Massaro, Badiani and Abbott.

Cards:  Sutton (Y – 40 mins), Watkins (Y – 40 mins), Smith (Y – 54 mins), Butler (Y – 60 mins), Foster (Y – 89 mins)

Goals:  none


Kidlington:  Lawrence, Blackstock, Castle,Martin, West, Ricketts,Coyle, Benjamin, Odhiambo (A), Howards, Smith 

Subs:  Odhiambo (E) (for Smith 49 mins), Willoughby (for Ricketts 77 mins), Peart (for Odhiambo (A) 81 mins), Franklin and Williams.

Cards:  Coyle (RED – 40 mins), Martin (Y – 40 mins), Franklin (Y – 45 mins), Odhiambo (A) (Y – 72 mins)

Goals:  Benjamin (29 mins)


Referee:  Matthew Fletcher (Hemel Hempstead)

Attendance:       53


John Walker


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