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Spot kick is all that separates the sides in harsh defeat at AFC Dunstable

Saturday, 18 January 2020 20:53

SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL

AFC Dunstable       1          St Neots Town        0        

A penalty goal early in the second half, converted by former Saint Nathan Frater was sufficient to give the host side all three points in a closely fought match – the first away game in change for new St Neots boss Barry Corr.    It was Dunstable’s first win in ten matches although they have drawn three in that sequence, and for St Neots it was disappointment again after competing well but failing to find the back of the net.   Records show that it was the fifth time in their last seven league defeats that the margin of defeat has been just a single goal.   Delight then for the home club and particularly for striker Nathan Frater who has scored in both matches against his former club this season, and frustration for St Neots who were hoping to move out of the bottom two in the league table for the first time since 7th September last year, with a win, with Kempston’s match at Welwyn waterlogged.   Manager Corr made four changes to his first travelling line up, bringing in loanees Lewis Simper and Joe Neal from his ‘other’ club Cambridge United, and restoring back to the side the Boxer brothers Tom (after his one match ban) and Panny.   Giving way were Sam Goode, Jonny Butler and Jacob Joseph (all on the bench) and Joe Massaro.

The sides looked evenly matched early in the match on a very heavy pitch that had required a late inspection before it was declared fit for play.   It was competitive with three cautions issued by the Referee in the opening half hour, but there was little significant goalmouth action.   Tyler Fry had the first real chance for the home side after 12 minutes but his finish weak and easily covered by Finlay Iron.   The keeper then had to be on his toes 11 minutes later when the lively Nick Elliot went around a defender to send in a low angled shot that was well saved.   St Neots was sharing possession fairly evenly, but they never seemed to get players forward enough to seriously test the home defence and new striker Joe Neal was clearly lacking support.   Prince Mutswunguma threatened briefly but lacked the finish required to test the Dunstable back line and St Neots’ general approach was far too predictable.   The closest St Neots got to testing Dan Green in the home goal came ten minutes before the break when a three man move split the home defence to free Neal and he finished well putting the ball in the net, before being flagged offside.

Dunstable began the second half with a flourish and St Neots was quickly penned back in their own half of the field.   They paid the price for their dalliance when just seven minutes after the restart, Aaron Smith clumsily brought down Fry as he was heading away from goal and the Referee awarded a penalty kick that was efficiently despatched by Nathan Frater to give his side the lead.  That setback seemed to jerk St Neots into some positive reaction and after a powerful downward Ryan Frater header from a Newman Carney corner had been luckily deflected wide, St Neots began to look more confident.   Mutswunguma twice closed in on goal but both his efforts were wide of the target and then a Panny Boxer cross was well gathered by Green under pressure from two attacking St Neots players.   Dunstable seemed content to preserve their narrow advantage pulling players back behind the ball to defend as a Lewis Simper shot was deflected with the home keeper out of position.   Simper then honed-in on goal to be brought down earning the home player a caution, but St Neots wasted most of their possession by employing too many long ball attacking moves that were snuffed out by the tall home defenders.    St Neots tried to raise the tempo in the last ten minutes and following a corner a Sam Gomarsall volley from outside the area was pushed away at full stretch by Green and the same visiting player then sent another effort narrowly over the crossbar.   The home side were employing every timewasting tactic in the book as they clung on to their narrow lead as the six added minutes indicated, and during that additional period Green preserved his sides’ three points haul as he pushed a Joe Sutton volley over the crossbar.   St Neots now have four consecutive home matches and harvesting points from these is now a gathering priority.

Saints' Supporters' Man of the Match - TOM DICKENS

 

St Neots: Iron, Shaw, Smith, Boxer (P), Dickens, Boxer (T), Gomersal, Simper, Neal, Sutton, Mutswunguma

Subs:  Foster (for Boxer (P) 89 mins), Goode, Butler, Joseph and Clarke.

Cards:  Shaw  (Y – 31 mins)

Goals:  none

Dunstable:  Green, Powell, Silford, Frater (R), Carney, Tavernier, Fry, Ajayi, Christie, Elliot, Frater (N)

Subs:  Burnett (for Fry 70 mins), Crawley (for Powell 77 mins), Abraham, Rhiney and Igbanoi.

Cards: Frater (N) (Y – 17 mins), Elliot (Y – 27 mins), Ajayi (Y – 70 mins), Frater (R) (Y – 90 mins)

Goals:  Frater (N) – pen  (52 mins)

 

Referee:  Stuart Smith (Watford)

 

Attendance:       94

John Walker

 

 

 

 

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