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Prince strike not enough as Saints succumb to two Daventry goals

Saturday, 22 February 2020 21:07

SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL

Daventry Town        2       St Neots Town        1          

With three key players missing St Neots fell to a fourth consecutive away league defeat – this time at Daventry.  Having had the better of a blustery first half facing into the wind, the expectation of a change in fortune looked possible and then, going on to take the lead after the break seemed to strengthen further that expectation.   However, they then gifted their hosts two goals and did not raise the skill or ability to hit back for at least a point.   Now four of their most recent defeats have been as a result of just an odd goal difference in the final score line, and so they seem unable to change the outcome of closely fought contests.   Still missing from the starting line-up was on-loan striker Joe Neal who has been restricted by injury to just four appearances, along with another forward Sam Gomarsall who has what could be a lengthy illness.   Joining that pair was current team skipper Tom Boxer who was sitting out the first of his two matches ban following his sending off at Yaxley.   Into the side came Rajan Badiani for his full debut following three very brief substitute appearances, with Steven Shaw reinstated in defence.   Also, back into the side from the substitutes’ bench came leading scorer Prince Mutswunguma who responded with his ninth league goal of the season – with Lewis Foster starting on the bench.

The first fifteen minutes were competitive but with the conditions testing there was only a single shot on target – that from new boy Rajan Badiani who failed to test home custodian James Martin.   Daventry responded with Jack Bowen finding space in the penalty area to head over from an Aaron King corner.   King then cleverly created space but shot well wide and gradually St Neots began to dominate proceedings.   Martin did well at full length to deny Lewis Simper after the young midfielder had started and finished one of St Neots’ better attacking moves, Sutton set up chances with several searching crosses, and Prince Mutswunguma leading the visiting attack saw his effort blocked by a defender.   The half ended with Jarvis Wilson earning the first of four home side bookings for upending the lively Sutton.

After suffering a painful foot injury, Sam Goode failed to reappear after the break and was replaced by Lewis Foster with a noticeable visiting side reorganisation.   Foster went to lead the attack with little success, Mutswunguma was withdrawn to a deeper role, Panny Boxer moved into central defence with Stevan Shaw moving to fill the vacant full back berth.    Initially it did not seem to upset St Neots rhythm and just before the hour a clever through pass from Simper found Prince Mutswunguma with his back to goal but he turned to shed his marker and shot across the diving Martin to open the scoring.   However, any feeling of pleasure was almost quickly extinguished as just ninety seconds later a cross from the right saw Boxer and Tom Dickens going for the same clearance which neither achieved, leaving ball to run through to the unmarked Aaron King who was brought down by the St Neots keeper as he tried to go past him.   That resulted in a booking for Finley Iron and a successful penalty converted by Jake Bowen, the leading home goal scorer.  That seemed to knock St Neots confidence and their play became ragged as Daventry introduced two fresh substitutes.   After fifteen minutes of inconsequential play the home side were attacking again and in the slickest move of the game substitute Michael Gyasi rounded his marker to pull the ball back to Jake Bowen who rapped the ball home to give his side the lead.     At that point Daventry clearly opted to sit on their lead and they deliberately slowed the game unashamedly smothering St Neots’ attempts to get back on terms.    As a result the Referee added on almost eight minutes of added time and it was during that spell that St Neots created their best opportunity of a late share of the spoils when a long ball found Joe Sutton free on the right and his measured shot beat the dive of the goalkeeper but passed just the wrong side of the far post.

Saints Supporters' Man of the Match - LEWIS SIMPER (Pictured top right)

 

St Neots: Iron, Goode, Smith, Boxer (P), Shaw, Dickens, Sutton, Watkins, Mutswunguma, Simper, Badiani

Subs:  Foster (for Goode 46 mins), Joseph, O’Hara and Hudson.

Cards:  Shaw (Y – 51 mins), Iron (Y – 61 mins), Watkins (Y – 73 mins)

Goals:  Mutswunguma (59 mins)

 

Daventry:  Martin, O’Connor, Wilson, Harris, Barrett, Confue, Emery, Finch, Bowen, King, Print

Subs:  Creaney (for O’Connor 62 mins), Gyasi (for Confue 72 mins), Stanbridge (for Kay 86 mins), Childs and Cerga.

Cards:  Wilson (Y – 39 mins),Finch (Y – 51 mins), Bowen (Y – 74 mins), King (Y – 81 mins)

Goals:  Bowen 2 (61 mins – pen - & 76 mins)

 

Referee:  Ruebyn Ricardo (Leicester)

Attendance:       110

 

John Walker

 

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