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Saints finally get the rewards for their improved performances

Sunday, 31 January 2016 14:52

 

Southern League Premier Division

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN      2       ST NEOTS TOWN     5     

 

After their dismal run of just one win in their last seventeen matches St Neots came good with an excellent victory at Cirencester. This was their first win since 25th November and it featured five different scorers including three players notching their first league goals for the club. Four goals ahead after 55 minutes it was looking like a runaway victory until the home side belatedly came to life to score twice but the final outcome was never in doubt.  

The injury to Ryan Hawkins at Stratford seven days earlier was followed by a midweek training injury suffered by goalkeeper Andy Wilton so into the side to join the other two Stevenage loan players came Ben Jackson for his debut between the posts and he was joined in the starting line-up by central defender Tom Ward back from injury after missing fourteen matches. 

The side carried on where they had finished at Stratford but this time they scored the goals they had created and left the home side nonplussed despite them having won at the Premier Plus Stadium earlier in the season. The midfield pairing of the experienced Adam Tann and the lively Peter Clark was the real key to the St Neots victory and the visitors were defensively sound apart from a brief spell early in the second half.

It was the perfect start for the visitors who went ahead in their first attack after ninety seconds.  A flowing move down the left saw Brett Longden pick out Lee Clarke in the centre of the field and he rolled the ball invitingly into the path of George Casey playing wide right and he scored with a low shot to open his account with the club.  

Cirencester responded with Jamie Reid testing Ben Jackson and then Tom Meechan in full flight was tripped by Leigh Henry earning the home skipper the first yellow card of the game after quarter of an hour. Ten minutes later a similar break by Meechan picking up a through pass from Adam Tann saw him burst through and when his first shot rebounded off the advancing keeper he followed up to double St Neots’ lead.  

After 28 minutes Meechan was played clear on the right by a delightful pass from Casey but his shot flew across the face of goal.  With the St Neots defence easily repelling the sporadic attacks by the home side the visitors’ domination continued and home keeper Jack Stevens had to throw himself at the feet of Lee Clarke to smother the ball after good work by Josh Dawkin and Peter Clark. However, the Cirencester defence was breached again after 32 minutes when another cross from the left by Brett Longden who was finding lots of space picked out Dawkin and he took a touch to settle himself before shooting across the goalkeeper for his first St Neots goal.

The second half started where the first had left off with Peter Clark shooting narrowly over the bar and then on 55 minutes pure skill by Lee Clarke produced the best goal of the seven scored in this match. Receiving the ball with his back to goal he turned smartly to lose his marker before hitting a perfectly placed shot inside the far post.  

Maybe being four goals ahead caused the visitors to lose concentration but Cirencester stung into action then had a purple spell of ten minutes when they battered the St Neots defence and were rewarded when Charlie Griffin was left unmarked at the far post to pull a goal back.  

Ben Jackson then did well to turn a dipping shot from Aidan Bennett over his crossbar and two over enthusiastic challenges by home players earned two further cautions. With eight minutes remaining Griffin scored his second goal for the home side – the ball going in off a post but St Neots had the final word as Peter Clark got his reward for a fine individual performance as he claimed St Neots’ fifth goal after substitute Drew Roberts had seen his shot parried by Stevens.

St Neots:  Jackson, Anton, Longden, Tann, Ward, Smyth, Casey, Clark (P), Meechan, Clarke (L), Dawkin

Subs:  Roberts (for Meechan 67), Hobbs (for Clarke (L) 84), Lewis (D) (for Dawkin 90+1), Nurettin and Rudman.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Casey (3 mins), Meechan (20 mins), Dawkin (32 mins), Clarke (L) (55 mins), Clark (P) (89 mins)

 

Cirencester:  Stevens, Anson, Pritchett, Brown, Liddiard, Henry, Reid, Mortimer, Griffin, Bennett, Kotwica

Subs:  Langworthy (for Brown 58), Knight (for Bennett 71), Buse (for Kotwica 71), Hooper and Connolly

Cards:  Henry (Y – 15), Bennett (Y – 71), Reid (Y – 72)

Goals:  Griffin 2 (63 & 82 mins)

Attendance: 93

Referee: Neil Morrison (Heathrow)

 

John Walker

 

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