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Lacking of a cutting edge costs Saints dear at Barton

Saturday, 08 February 2020 21:34

SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL

Barton Rovers        3          St Neots Town       0      

After picking up seven points from their past four matches this was a very disappointing overall team performance by St Neots.   They were outmuscled and eventually outplayed by a host side struggling for form after four defeats in their last five matches.   Having had much the better of the first half St Neots might well have hoped to go on to record their first away victory since Boxing Day, but two very late goals gave Barton a margin of victory that made a nonsense of the balance of play.   An unchanged St Neots side, still without injured striker Joe Neal, might have expected to come into the game with a measure of confidence, but their overall possession was wasted due to very poor execution of the final pass whilst the home side failed to seriously test Fin Iron in the St Neots goal in the opening half hour, except for one headed attempt that the keeper collected under his crossbar.   Lewis Foster continuing to lead the visiting attack could not be faulted for his commitment and effort but his finishing, like his colleagues, was unconvincing after some neat team approach play.   It was only the second time in eleven league and cup matches that St Neots have failed to score a goal – a failing that must be rectified urgently.

On an uneven, bobbly pitch both sides struggled to play constructive football in the opening quarter of an hour.  Charlie Smith had the first opening for Barton but shot badly wide and at the other end a diving header by Sam Gomarsall from a Tommy Boxer cross was well gathered by home custodian Niall Cooper.   It was a looping header by Victor Osobu that was gathered by Iron but most of the play was in the opposite direction, with a stinging shot by Lewis Simper requiring a double save by Cooper and Joe Sutton seeing his effort blocked after he had left two defenders in his wake.   Sutton was tormenting the home defence and Lewis Thomas earned the first caution of the match after upending him just outside the penalty area.   With almost half an hour played St Neots were dictating play and Foster had a shot saved when he should have done better and Gomarsall cut in from the left to see his net bound shot blocked by Kai Phelan.   St Neots though they should have had a penalty when Lee Watkins was shoved in the back as he closed in on goal, but the referee waved play on.   A minute before the break following more St Neots pressure Sam Gomarsall had the ball in the net but was ruled offside and the half ended with Phelan picking up a yellow card as he callously ended a St Neots attack with a late challenge.

Prince Mutswunguma was introduced after half time with Gomarsall having picked up an injury but the restart was marked by a first significant break for the home side.   A corner carelessly conceded saw Osobu lift the ball to the far post where tall defender Lewis Thomas outjumped the defence to open the scoring.   This setback seemed to knock the stuffing out of St Neots whose play became ragged and unconvincing.   Sensing their chance Barton, pushed their visitors back in defence and around the hour created three good chances.   Iron had to be alert to gather a rising shot from Osobu, then, played clear of the defence Connor Vincent fired over the bar and Nathan Tshikina bore down on goal to bring the save of the match from Iron who had narrowed his angle to block the low shot.   St Neots were collectively guilty of some very careless and often too optimistic passing when they were in possession and even the introduction of substitute Rajan Badiani failed to inspire their attacking options and ideas.   A collision between Simper and the home keeper looked to be nothing other than a legal 50/50 challenge but with the keeper requiring treatment the Referee booked the St Neots player – judged a harsh decision even by home officials.   The constant and frustrating time-wasting tactics employed by the home side earned another yellow card but St Neots could not take full advantage and two minutes from time a long defensive clearance found Nathan Tshikina in space and he doubled the lead.   In time added on for home side timewasting, they took full advantage as Victor Osobu made it 3-0 with the best goal of the match curling a shot over Iron and under the bar.

SAINTS SUPPORTERS' MAN OF THE MATCH:  LEWIS SIMPER (pictured right)

St Neots Town: Iron, Goode, Smith, Boxer (P), Dickens, Boxer (T), Sutton, Watkins, Foster, Simper, Gomersall

Subs:  Mutswunguma (for Gomersall 46 mins), Badiani (for Foster 74 mins), Shaw, Clarke and Crosby.

Cards:  Simper (Y – 77 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Barton:  Cooper, Palmer, Ward, Smith (C), Phelan, Thomas, Osobu, Dummett, Vincent, Tshikina, Furlong

Subs:  Andrews (for Thomas 74 mins), Boland (for Dummett 77 mins), Williams (for Vincent 85 mins), Okuboyejo and McCormick.

Cards:  Thomas (Y – 21 mins), Phelan (Y – 45+1 mins), Furlong (Y – 65 mins), Smith (C) (Y – 81 mins)

Goals:  Thomas (47 mins), Tshikuna (88 mins), Osobu (90+4 mins)

 

Referee:  Grzegorz Komasiewicz (Eynsham)

Attendance:       158

 

John Walker

 

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