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Boxer delivers knockout blow to Didcot as Saints seal another win and three points

Saturday, 25 January 2020 20:00

SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL

St Neots Town        1         Didcot Town       0        

Back to back wins without conceding a goal, for more than a year, earned three valuable points to take St Neots within one point of visitors Didcot as their gradual climb up the table continues, and will have boosted confidence as the newly assembled line-up progresses.   It was a hard fought but well-deserved victory with single goal from skipper Tom Boxer – his first for the club – enough to separate the sides.   Didcot proved to be hard-working and resilient opponents with their two tall central defenders Luke Carnell and Joe Green snuffing out the most promising St Neots attacks, but St Neots had their own excellent defenders in the two Tom’s – Boxer and Dickens as well as dependable shot stopper Fin Iron in goal. St Neots still have some weak points to work on with too many promising openings falling due to a poor final ball, and once again they made a very slow start to the match, taking far too long to find their rhythm. However, the second half improvement was impressive, and the narrow one goal advantage always looked likely to deliver the victory.   For the first time since September there were no changes to the starting line-up, and just one on the bench with Lee Watkins reinstated after suspension.

The first 45 minutes were uninspiring and pallid with neither sides producing much to warm their followers on a cold afternoon.   There was a general lack of intensity in the play with St Neots guilty of some careless passing when they were in possession.   An early typical snapshot from distance by Lewis Simper sailed agonisingly the wrong side of a post but Didcot were creating their own openings with Cameron McNeill heading tamely wide from a Humphries free kick and Jack Dark firing high over the bar after neat work by George Reid.   Visiting keeper Leigh Bedwell did well to parry a rising shot from Panny Boxer and he then claimed an Aaron Smith free kick amidst a crowd of players.   Jonny Butler needlessly picked up a caution pulling back an opponent and the first half looked to be a stalemate until the clock ticked over into the 45th minute.   Then a cross from the right was only cleared as far as home skipper Tom Boxer and he hit a low shot through the crowded penalty area to put his side ahead and claim his first goal for the club.

Thankfully, the second half proved far more entertaining and competitive.   It began with the substitution of Butler by former skipper Lee Watkins, who beefed up the midfield attacking options for the home side, and as a result St Neots began to manage the game in a more confident manner.   Just past the hour, Joe Sutton after a quiet first half, cut inside past two defenders and saw his rising shot pass across the face of goal, and then Tom Boxer broke up a Didcot attack to forge forward to set up Simper whose shot was well saved by Bedwell.   The keeper then had to be brave to leave his line to claim the ball at the feet of Watkins, but Didcot too had their moments with Finley Iron twice in action in the same attack, pushing away a Reid corner before saving a firm Luke Carnell header.   Sixteen minutes from time St Neots Manager Barry Corr withdrew hardworking striker Joe Neal who had received next to no service from his side, replacing him with Prince Mutswunguma who was only caught inches offside as he went clear from a Simper through pass.   Iron made a very significant save to deny Reid, who had been the pick of the visiting players, but play switched quickly to the other end where Simper brought the save of the match from Bedwell.   Simper then limped off to be replaced by Lewis Foster and St Neots thought they should have had a late penalty when Mutswunguma was upended but the Referee waved play on.

 

SAINTS SUPPORTERS' MAN OF THE MATCH - TOMMY BOXER (pictured right)

 

St Neots Town: Iron, Shaw, Smith, Butler, Dickens, Boxer (T), Gomarsall, Boxer (P), Neal, Simper, Sutton

Subs:  Watkins (for Butler 46 mins), Mutswunguma (for Neal 74 mins), Foster (for Simper 81 mins), Joseph and Goode.

Cards:  Butler  (Y – 32 mins), Simper (Y – 45+2 mins), Shaw (Y – 53 mins)

Goals:  Boxer (T) (45 mins)

 

Didcot Town:  Bedwell, Gilmore, McNeill, Hayden, Carnell, Green, Humphries, Talboys, Stanley, Dark, Reid

Subs:  Heapy and Murphy.

Cards: Green (Y – 61 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Tom Danaher (Hitchin)

Attendance:       205

 

John Walker

 

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