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Saints beaten by league leaders but not disgraced in any way

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 10:24

SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL 

St Neots Town        1        Corby Town        3          

Following two excellent home victories, St Neots were outplayed by league leaders Corby Town in their rearranged league match.  Although the match was goalless at the break it only took Corby a few minutes after the break to forge ahead and St Neots could only point to the first twenty minutes and the last ten when they competed with any conviction.   The victory propelled the visitors back to the top of the league table although displaced Berkhamsted have a game in hand and a superior goal difference, but this was a match in which the Northamptonshire side were determined to push home their advantage.   Unusually after two unchanged starting line ups, Barry Corr made four team changes, two of then enforced with Joe Sutton unavailable, and playmaker Lee Simper injured but he also rested Stevan Shaw and Jonny Butler bringing in Sam Goode, Lee Watkins and Prince Mutswunguma and he also included teenager Jacob Joseph for just his second start since September.    

The start was disappointing with neither side imposing themselves. St Neots, criticised for a slow start in their previous matches were out of the blocks quickly and they created the first real opening after eleven minutes when Lee Watkins ran at the defence, only to be brought down by a combination of two defenders and a penalty looked possible but the well-placed official waved play on.   At the other end Stephen Diggin was proving the main threat and his searching cross after 17 minutes found Jordan Crawford behind the St Neots defence but his fierce volley was too high.   St Neots were beginning to be forced back after their bright start where they had shaded possession and as Corby grew in confidence leading scorer Elliott Sandy fired in from the edge of the area for Tom Dickens to clear off the goal line.   James Clifton twice broke into the box from the left and the second time he was impeded by Tom Boxer earning the St Neots skipper a yellow card.   From the free kick on the edge of the box Jake Duffy’s free kick was deflected wide.    Three minutes before the break, Jordan Crawford was left in too much space on the right and he crossed back to find Clifton at the back post whose effort was also deflected for a corner, from which defender Gary Mulligan fired high over the bar.

St Neots Manager Barry Corr clearly had to vary his sides’ approach if they were to compete in the second half and he freshened up his side with two half time substitutions replacing Jacob Joseph and Joe Neal with Reif Clarke and Lewis Foster.   The changes had hardly registered because just five minutes in Corby stuck with a quick break through the heart of the home defence, as Clifton skilfully set up the unmarked Steve Diggin to fire across the keeper for the opening goal.   Tom Boxer was then injured to be replaced by Stevan Shaw, so the home side had utilised their three permitted substitutes with almost forty minutes remaining.   On the hour St Neots might have drawn level when Panny Boxer released Prince Mutswunguma beyond the visiting defence, but his finish was a foot too high and the opportunity squandered.   After 66 minutes the impressive Lee Watkins wove his way into the penalty area and looked to be fouled but once again St Neots’ penalty appeals were rejected.   A rising Clifton shot was palmed away by Iron for a corner after 73 minutes.  Before it could be taken, Corby replaced Sandy with James Ireland and the substitute, on the pitch for around ten seconds, headed home Jake Duffy’s corner with his first touch to double Corby’s lead.   That really was the killer blow although the visitors added a third goal nine minutes from time through Curtis Hartley.   This stung St Neots into a late revival and although Sam Gomarsall (pictured bottom right)  netted a consolation goal from the penalty spot after he had been brough down by a defender, the rally proved too little too late to have any meaningful effect on the outcome of the match.

 

 SAINTS SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH - LEE WATKINS (Pictured top right)

 

St Neots: Iron, Goode, Smith, Boxer (P), Dickens, Boxer (T), Joseph, Watkins, Neal, Mutswunguma, Gomersall

Subs:  Clarke (for Joseph 46 mins), Foster (for Neal 46 mins), Shaw (for Boxer (T), Butler and Martin

Cards:  Boxer (T) (Y – 28 mins), Boxer (P) (Y – 57 mins)

Goals:  Gomersall – pen – (87 mins)

 

Corby:  Wortley, Hartley, Warburton, Ling, Wise, Mulligan, Clifton, Duffy, Sandy, Diggin, Crawford

Subs:  Ireland (for Sandy 73 mins), Robbins (for Diggin 82 mins), Robinson (for Crawford 87 mins) and Montgomery.

Goals:  Diggin (50 mins), Ireland (73 mins), Hartley (81 mins)

 

Referee:  Luke Scott (Northampton)

Attendance:       178

 

John Walker

 

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