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Hungerford take the pressure to hold out for a draw

Saturday, 14 March 2015 19:16

Southern League Premier Division

ST NEOTS TOWN   1 - 1   HUNGERFORD TOWN

Both Managers declared themselves happy with their teams’ performance in a contest that finished all square but was at times uninspiring.  ‘A good point each for two good teams’ declared visiting Manager Bobby Wilkinson whilst home boss David Batch said ‘I am happy with a point but I though my team’s performance deserved all three’. 

 

Both teams separated only by goal difference on the fringe of the play offs clearly did not want to lose ground on each other and St Neots must now go on to make their game in hand  over Hungerford count. The outstanding feature of the game was the corner tally for St Neots had sixteen and their opponents just two and this clearly mirrored the fact that St Neots shaded possession without being able to make it count.   

St Neots made just one change in their starting line up bringing in goal scorer Nathan Frater up from with Lee Clark moving back into midfield and Ryan Frater giving way.   The two sides had shared the points in a goalless meeting at Hungerford a month earlier so this was expected to be a tightly fought contest and so it proved with both defences largely in control.

The opening skirmishes saw both sides threaten without creating clear openings although an off balance Nathan Frater was disappointed when clear on goal he volleyed high over the bar.  

 

At the other end Stefan Brown did the same for the visitors but it was Hungerford who took the lead after 20 minutes.  A fairly innocuous attack saw James Clark pinned tight to the bye line but he somehow squeezed the ball into the six yard box where Brown seemingly surrounded by defenders bundled it into the net. 

 A direct inswinging Drew Roberts corner looked to be creeping in under the bar but visiting keeper Paul Strudley acrobatically turned it away for another corner and then Lewis Hilliard saw a net bound shot blocked by a defender. 

From one of St Neots many corners Lee Clarke won the ball well but glanced his header wide of the far post and there was little seen of the home attack but St Neots went to the break within managing a single shot on target.

However the improvement in their fortunes after the break was swift and positive.   Drew Roberts shot straight at Strudley from a narrow angle after delightful approach play by Adam Tann and Lee Clarke, Lewis Hilliard volleyed wide.  

 

Then after 51 minutes the scores were levelled as Roberts sent over St Neots’ tenth corner of the match and the recalled Nathan Frater rose to head home.  

This signalled a spell of St Neots domination but the visiting defence looked solid and Strudley saved well from Matt Spring and Clarke. On the hour a Clarke header rebounded from a post and St Neots leading scorer Drew Roberts squandered his sides’ best chance of all three points when he shot over the bar after skilfully making space for himself.  

With Bruce Wilson on for Brett Longden St Neots looked to be going for a second goal and all three points but the visitors boast the second best defensive record in the Premier Division and they seemed easily able to snuff out St Neots better attacking moves.  

With six minutes left another teasing Roberts corner was tipped over the bar by Strudley and at the final whistle both sides seemed happy to preserve their goal and settle for a point apiece for the second time this season.

St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Wilkinson, Clarke, Mitchel-King, Ward, Hilliard, Spring, Frater (N),  Roberts, Longden

 

Subs: Wilson (B) (for Longden 68), Ferrari (for Frater (N) 80), Frater (R), Bickerstaff and Harty.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Frater (N) (51 mins)

Hungerford: Strudley, Horgan, John, Boardman, Day, Rees, Clark, Rusby, Goodger, Brown Stow

 

Subs:  Mpi (for Stow 75), Pilling, Osei-Tutu, Wilson (S) and Chappe

Cards:  Horgan (Y – 59)

Goals:  Brown (20 mins)

Attendance: 366

 

Referee: Jonathan Burridge (Papworth, Cambs)

 

John Walker

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