Chesham United 2 : 1 St Neots Town FC
SLP 01
Chesham United 2 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 18 August, 2012 15:00

Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division


CHESHAM UNITED      2      ST NEOTS TOWN       1    


St Neots’ debut at Step Three proved to be a dramatic and incident packed defeat that featured two red cards and a missed penalty.   Clearly the result was disappointing but the hastily assembled new look squad acquitted themselves well against a host side who were defeated in the Premier Division play offs last season and who feature at very short odds to gain promotion this season.   On the hottest day of the year both sides performed well in the conditions but the controversial first half dismissal of St Neots goalkeeper Michael Duggan proved to be the most significant incident in both the match and its outcome.   Without a goalkeeper on the bench St Neots had to utilise attacking midfielder Lewis Hilliard as an emergency replacement between the posts and at a stroke this robbed St Neots of two players in key positions.   It was four minutes before the break that Duggan was penalised for an alleged handball offence just outside his area and sent off despite the fact that the Law states that that incident should only have attracted a red card if ‘a clear scoring opportunity had been denied’.   That was clearly not the case and even home officials agreed that a caution should have been the correct punishment – despite the fact that Duggan denied that the ball had struck his arm!

Four new signings in the starting eleven seemed no problem for St Neots who dominated possession in the opening half hour against their ambitious hosts.   Clear scoring openings were few for either side with only rare half chances in the opening phase of the match.   Dan Jacob shot fiercely across the face of goal at one end and Simon Thomas headed weakly towards goal at the other but after 19 minutes a flighted free kick from Hilliard found the head of Jordan Gent and home keeper Shane Gore did well to palm the ball for a corner.   A minute later St Neots scored their first Premier Division goal as a long throw by debutant Jon-Paul Duncliffe was not cleared and Ben Mackey turned to score with a low shot.   The lead last just three minutes and then in their first real attack Chesham were level as Steve Wales threaded a clever through ball past the St Neots defence and Bruce Wilson netted with an angled shot.   In the five minutes spell leading up to the Duggan sending off both keepers produced good saves – Duggan to deny Simon Thomas and Gore to push away a Hilliard effort when the St Neots man played clear by Jacob should have scored.

Chesham began the second half strongly and were rewarded after 56 minutes when a drive from 30 yards by Chris Watters appeared to wrong foot the stand in goalkeeper to put the home side in front.   Hilliard made up for that with a fine full length save to deny Danny Talbot and then on the hour the match became ten a side when Daniel Brathwaite received his marching orders for a goal line handball to deny Jacob a St Neots equaliser.   Disappointingly Stefan Moore unusually blasted the resultant penalty kick high over the bar and minutes later he was felled by Rob Bartley on the edge of the area but again Jacob’s effort was too high.   A series of substitutions by both sides in the heat showed their desire to win with St Neots fielding two attacking players but the experienced home defence stood firm and St Neots closest attempt to earn a point was denied when a net bound Mackey effort in the closing stages was blocked by Ryan Moran.


St Neots: Duggan, Duncliffe, Rogers, Stewart, Gent, Lee, Hilliard, Dove, Moore, Mackey, Jacob.

Subs:  Sharman (for Dove 66 mins), Adjei (for Moore 75 mins), Felix (for Gent 80 mins), Jenkins & Colmer.





Chesham: Gore, Thomas, Brathwaite, Moran, Bartley, Talbot, Wilson, Wales, Chennells, Thomas, Watters.

Subs: Fotheringham (for Wilson 66 mins), Barker (for Wales 75 mins), O’Donohue (for Watters 79 mins), Shaw and Seania.


Referee: S Brown


Attendance:  354


John Walker