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When the Saints go marching on and on and on.

Saturday, 07 March 2015 20:48

Southern League Premier Division

ST NEOTS TOWN   4 - 0  CIRENCESTER TOWN

These two aspiring play off challengers knew the importance of this match and it was hosts St Neots who rose to the occasion with a deserved victory and two late goals the bonus to boost their goal difference.  

Both knew that if they are to move up to the play-off zone then consistency in results is vital and both have played most of the top sides so their destiny is in their own hands. Their earlier meeting at Cirencester had resulted in a stalemate with the sides sharing two goals and a point apiece and both knew that victory in this match would see them well placed.   

Only goal difference is now keeping St Neots below the play offs in sixth place with next week’s visitors Hungerford immediately above them and fourth placed Truro just three points further ahead. St Neots welcomed back Jack Wilkinson after illness and drafted in Brett Longden for Bruce Wilson but the side is now beginning to show the benefit of fewer team changes.

It was a case of the sides playing cat and mouse after a delayed start due to chaotic road works with neither side dominating. Both seemed to pay the other great respect and the result was a disappointing opening phase with no attempts on goal.   

Then after 14 minutes St Neots made a critical breakthrough as Drew Roberts outwitted his marker on the left and crossed to the near post where the sheer persistence and strength of Lee Clarke saw him hold off two defenders to force a low shot past Glyn Garner.  

Cirencester responded with a long ball approach and after 23 minutes Paul Bastock produced a fine full length save to push away a low shot from Jacob Davidge following an Ed Williams free kick into the box.  

The keeper then made a second important save keeping out a shot from Brad Hooper whilst at the other end Roberts ran on to a lengthy free kick from Ryan Frater only to see his shot cannon off the advancing goalkeeper’s body for a corner. As the half wore on St Neots began to look more composed and on the counter attack Lewis Hilliard was played clear but shot across the face of goal.  

A minute into time added at the end of the first half St Neots struck a second significant blow when a long cross into the box by Adam Tann found defender Tom Ward centrally positioned and he turned his marker to send a shot into the corner of the net to register his first St Neots goalThat late first half goal made it imperative for the visitors to adopt a more attacking approach and this they did but they made little headway in the face of the well organised St Neots back line. The home side sent on Nathan Frater up front withdrawing Lee Clarke into his favoured midfield role but the visitors were now  enjoying their best spell of possession in the match as Bastock had to push away a Gethin Jones cross under pressure and then substitute Nat Jarvis was played clear but Bastock managed to get a touch on his shot for the ball to deflect it just wide.  

It was St Neots final determined ten minutes that confirmed the comfortable nature of the final score line. Skipper Adam Tann crossed to find the head of Roberts but his effort was just the wrong side of a post and then Roberts once again performed to role of provider as he pulled away on the right from the final defender to send in an inch perfect cross for Tom Ward to power a well placed header into the net to make it 3-0.  Wilkinson was close with a shot that fizzed wide but a minute into injury time with the visitors visibly tiring a careless back pass allowed Nathan Frater to waltz around Garner to score a fourth goal to give a final score line that probably flattered the host side.


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

Subs: Frater (N) (for Spring 61), Bickerstaff (for Longden 82), Wilson (for Clarke 89), Ferrari and Harty.

Cards:  Frater (R) (Y – 56), Longden (Y – 76)

Goals:  Ward 2 (45 +1 & 86 mins), Lee Clarke (14 mins), Frater (N) (90 + 1 min)

 

Cirencester: Garner, Jones, Herring, Pritchett, Liddiard, Henry, Hooper, Mortimer-Jones, Davidge, Bennett, Williams

Subs:  Jarvis (for Davidge 59), Wells (for Hooper 77), Knight (for Mortimer-Jones 87), and Ricketts.

Cards: Henry (Y – 79)

 

 

 

 

Referee: Josh Smith (Bedford)

John Walker

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