Hemel Hempstead Town 2 : 0 St Neots Town FC
Match
7
Hemel Hempstead Town 2 : 0
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 07 September, 2013 15:00

 

Calor Southern League Premier Division

 

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD      2      ST NEOTS TOWN        0

 

A Lewis Toomey double strike early in the second half condemned St Neots to yet another league defeat in what is becoming an anxious start to the side’s second season at Step Three.   Once again the performance up to the edge of the opponents’ penalty area was generally solid but the home keeper was never really tested.   St Neots line up was almost unchanged from the previous match – just Ed Adjei preferred to Bobby Joe Taylor on the left flank but the real positive from the match for St Neots was the performance in goal of Niall Conroy whose heroics saved his side from a bigger defeat. Another consolation in defeat is that the ambitious, well funded Hemel side were clearly the best side St Neots have played so far this season and they look well placed at this early stage to at least equal their play off final berth last season.

 

The first chance fell to Lewis Toomey after clever play by a slimmer Ben Mackey but he blasted the ball over the bar – the first of his three first chance misses.   St Neots did manager one early opening but forging through the home defence Adrian Sear was off balance when he too put the ball over the top. Niall Conroy was destined for a busy match and after 19 minutes he stood up to grasp a lob from Dave Pearce after he had gone clear of the defence. Against the wind and the slight slope, St Neots decided to employ a 4-5-1 line up in the first half and this served them well in containing the Hemel attack. Lewis Hilliard shot over from a narrow angle and Toomey was prevented from opening the scoring when he delayed his shot and Jordy Nkinga produced a great tackle to block his effort. Conroy then saved well from Mackey and twice punched clear under pressure and in time added on after 45 minutes Mackey wriggled clear of the defence only to be denied by another important Conroy save.

 

St Neots created the first chance after the restart Sharman and Davies combined to set up Ola Sogbanmu but his volley was too high. However the pressure was building on the overworked St Neots defence and after 50 minutes Mackey took advantage of a defensive deflection to send a short pass to David Hutton and he set up the unmarked Toomey to open the scoring. Sharman then shot over the bar but that was his last involvement as he was sacrificed to bring on Karl Safee as St Neots reverted to a more positive 4-4-2 as they sought an equaliser. However it was Hemel who continued to create the better chances as Conroy first tipped a searing Hutton shot over the bar and then went full length to push away a Mackey shot. Then after 67 minutes the St Neots defence were caught square as Pearce threaded a delightful pass through and Toomey’s pace took him clear to double his sides’ lead.

St Neots final throw of the dice was to send of Dion Sembie-Ferris for the tiring Sogbanmu and although he and Safee gave the Hemel defence more to think about the only real chance for the visitors to find a consolation goal was when Davies and Hilliard combined to set up Safee and surrounded by defenders he sent his shot into the side netting.

 


 

 

St Neots: Conroy, Nkinga, Steer, Davies, Crowie, Hoyte, Hilliard, Sharman, Sogbanmu, Sear, Adjei

Subs:  Safee (for Sharman 53 mins), Taylor (for Adjei 58 mins), Sembie-Ferris (for Sogbanmu 75 mins), Wood and Palmer.

Cards: Sear (Y – 35)

Goals: none

 

Hemel: Walker, King, Connolly, Thorne, Murphy, Diarra, Talbot, Hutton, Pearce, Mackey, Toomey

Subs:  May (for King 69 mins), Mpi (for Toomey 71 mins), Hawkins (for Mackey 77 mins), Parsons and Campana.

Cards: King (Y – 16 mins)

Goals: Toomey 2 (50, 67 mins)

 

Attendance: 669

 

Referee:  Sam Purkiss (Highbury)

 

 

John Walker