St Neots Town FC 1 : 1 Hitchin Town
Match
39
St Neots Town FC 1 : 1
Hitchin Town
Saturday 15 March, 2014 15:00

 

Calor Southern League Premier Division

 

ST NEOTS TOWN      1       HITCHIN TOWN      1

 

These two mid-table sides slugged out a hard fought and competitive draw that could have gone either way.   Both goals were excellent long range efforts that gave the respective keepers no real chance and a point apiece was a suitable outcome.   Just the one St Neots team change saw Ed Adjei preferred at full back for Jordy Nkinga as St Neots sought to emulate their 5-0 home thrashing of Hitchin in the Red Insure Cup back in October.   However since then Hitchin have moved up nine places in the league table – now just in the top ten – and they looked a more confident and compact outfit.   Ironically Alasan Ann who made thirteen appearances for St Neots in the first half of the season returned as a Hitchin player and he was in the thick of the action picking up a yellow card for a rash challenge that was only inches short of being a penalty and at the other end he almost won all three points for his side with a late thundering shot that Nathan Abbey was happy to turn over his cross bar.

 

There was a quiet start to the match with both sides happy to play patiently and wait for openings before a Lewis Hilliard cross split the visiting defence but needed a far post touch and then after a good Hitchin build up Nathan Abbey was perfectly placed to save from Mitchell Bryant.    After 18 minutes Matt Nolan got the ball in the Hitchin net after determined play by Hilliard but the Referee had spotted an off the ball infringement and the effort was ruled out.  Hitchin then forged ahead two minutes later when an attack down the right saw the ball moved inside to Bryant and he sent in a surprise shot on the turn from 25 yards that left Nathan Abbey motionless on his goal line.   Hitchin then had a good spell of possession with Charlie Smith seeing a shot deflected for a corner and then curling in a free kick that led to Alasan Ann heading wide at the near post.   However St Neots always looked lively on the break and they were rewarded four minutes before the break when Adjei broke up an attack and fed Jay Davies who cut in and unleashed a shot that gave Bermudian international goalkeeper Tahj Bell no chance.

 

The second half began untidily with both sides flexing their muscles and conceding a string of free kicks that saw a caution issued to either side.   Stuart Pearson had the first real second half opening but he hooked his shot over the bar and gradually St Neots began to dominate.   They sent on Jordy Nkinga pushing Adjei forward on the left and his pace quickly created a couple of openings with Nolan putting the first cross wide and then just failing to get on a low cross in front of a gaping net.   Then in the last fifteen minutes St Neots pushed forward in search of a winner with substitute Shane Tolley on alongside Nolan and he set up his strike partner with a sublime flick but off balance Nolan again shot wide.   Chances became limited in the last ten minutes with both sides concentrating on not losing but that almost worked in Hitchin’s favour as a minute into add time a Callum Donnelly corner was not cleared very far and Alasan Ann produced a blockbusting volley that looked certain to clinch all three points but Nathan Abbey was able to react to turn the ball over his cross bar.   Neither side deserved to lose and the bumper crowd of 464 must have gone home satisfied.

 

St Neots: Abbey, Lee, Adjei, Farrell, Frater, Hoyte,Woolley, Cracknell, Nolan, DaviesHilliard

SubsNkinga (for Wolley 62 mins), Tolley (for Davies75 mins), Thomas (for Nolan 84 mins), Ferrari and Swan.

Cards: Farrell (Y – 60), Nkinga (Y – 82)

Goals: Davies (41 mins)

 

HitchinBell, Lench, Bickerstaff, Barker, Ann, Pearson, Smith, Donnelly, King, Bryant, Jones.

Subs: Rolph (for Lench 53 mins), Wharton (for Bryant88 mins), Martin, Webb and McKenzie-Lowe.

CardsAnn (Y – 58), Bryant (Y – 64)

GoalsBryant (20 mins)

 

Attendance464

 

RefereeLee Forrester (Luton)

 

John Walker