St Neots Town FC 3 : 0 Hungerford Town
Match
37
St Neots Town FC 3 : 0
Hungerford Town
Saturday 01 March, 2014 15:00

 

Calor Southern League Premier Division

 

ST NEOTS TOWN      3       HUNGERFORD TOWN      0

 

 

St Neots extended their unbeaten run at the Cozy Stadium to ten games – their best ever run in the Southern League – and avenged a narrow defeat at Hungerford earlier in the season.   It will have pleased Manager Gary King that this was their first home league clean sheet since before Christmas and that against a visiting side unbeaten in their last four outings.   The squad rotation saw St Neots start the game with a 4-4-2 formation and with Ben Farrell and Dean Cracknell dominant in central midfield from the start St Neots always looked capable of another victory.    However Hungerford are no mugs and they always looked dangerous on the break and that was when skipper Gavin Hoyte and Ryan Frater looked to be at their best.   This could have been a Red Insure Cup Final rehearsal but the Berkshire visitors lost at Tiverton in midweek handing St Neots in a lengthy trip in the first leg of the Final in two weeks time.

 

In the opening fifteen minutes the sides probably showed each other too much respect for there were few openings.   Then as the game opened up visiting keeper Paul Strudley was the busier of the two custodians saving well from Matt Nolan and Dave Deeney whilst leading Hungerford marksman Mark Draycott wasted both of his sides’ best first half chances.   Dean Stow did well to clear a Lewis Hilliard cross off the line with Shane Tolley waiting unmarked at the far post and then Tolley brought a full length save from Strudley.   Dean Cracknell still looking for his first St Neots goal headed narrowly wide and the first half ended with both sides pushing forward but unable to find a significant final shot.

 

However what the first half had lacked in drama and memorable incident was all rectified in the first five minutes after the restart as St Neots took the game by the scruff of the neck.   From a deep Nolan cross Tolley saw a header deflected for a corner after just 45 seconds and then two minutes later in the same attack Nolan beat the keeper but saw his effort rebound from the cross bar but only as far as Jake Woolley whose low shot rebounded from a post to safety.   St Neots were not finished and after 49 minutes their pressure paid off as Arthur Lee’s low shot was pushed onto the cross bar and Shane Tolley followed in to bundle the ball over the line – his tenth goal in eight starts since rejoining the club.   Hunderford then contributed to their own downfall with some shoddy defending that produced free kicks two of which St Neots prospered from.   After 67 minutes an outstanding free kick from a narrow angle by Dave Deeney that beat Strudley for accuracy and pace gave the St Neots defender his first league goal and three minutes later Dean Stow unnecessarily pushed Lee over at the far post to concede a penalty which Lewis Hilliard confidently despatched to make it 3-0.   From that point on Hungerford looked dispirited and untidy in attack and St Neots were able to stroll to victory with substitute Lorenzo Ferrari almost extending the lead as he burst through to bring a good save from Strudley.   The only downside was a late injury to Deeney who had to be assisted off and substituted.   With the two legged Cup Final and away midweek trips to Redditch and Frome coming shortly Gary King will want all his players fit a raring to go.

 

 

St Neots: Abbey, Deeney, Lee, Farrell, Frater, Hoyte,Woolley, Cracknell, Nolan, TolleyHilliard

SubsDavies (for Tolley 70 mins), Ferrari (for Hilliard80 mins), Ford (for Deeney 87 mins), Thomas and Swan.

Cards: Nolan (Y – 83)

Goals: Tolley (49 mins), Deeney (67 mins), Hilliard - pen (70 mins)

 

HungerfordStrudley, Stow, Legg, Boardman, Hughes, Rees, Clark, Webb, Brown, Draycott, O’Brien

Subs: Hopper (for Webb 62 mins), Goodger (for Draycott 67 mins), Burnell (for O’Brien 67 mins), and Horgan.

CardsHughes (Y – 66)

Goalsnone

 

Attendance324

 

RefereeDavid Avent (Northampton)

 

John Walker