Arlesey Town 1 : 3 St Neots Town FC
Arlesey Town 1 : 3
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 27 September, 2014 15:00

Southern League Premier Division


ARLESEY TOWN      1          ST NEOTS TOWN       3


St Neots moved up to third in the table with a less than convincing victory over struggling Arlesey thanks to a strong performance in the final quarter of an hour of this match that had been brought forward from midweek.   With only three rearranged league matches on the day because of FA Cup commitments it was the ideal chance for St Neots to improve their league standing but after a very poor first half that gifted opportunity was looking likely to be squandered.   However back on loan from Hemel Hempstead making his first appearance for St Neots since January 2013, midfield dynamo Ollie Thorne was the inspiration behind the victory scoring the first of those three comeback goals and looking the best visiting player in that rather torrid first 45 minutes.   He was one of three changes from the Banbury league match seven days earlier as the Managers still seek to establish their preferred staring eleven.   It was a match of four goals yet neither keeper was seriously tested in the 90 minutes and St Neots must learn to convert superior possession into goals if their season is to achieve its full potential.


The visitors received an early wake up call when Arlesey scored in their first and only first half chances after ten minutes.   St Neots failed to cut out a move down the left flank allowing Jamil Shariffu space to cross to the near post where Mark Gallagher squeezed between two defenders to flick the ball past Greygoose.   That wake up call was not heeded because although St Neots saw plenty of the ball their final pass was often misguided and apart from a far post header by Thorne to a deep Roberts free kick that was scraped off the line by Jimmy Haran there was little to excite.   The visitors seemed easily knocked out of their stride by a rather physical approach by Arlesey and Drew Roberts’ two first half chances saw him shoot across the face of goal after good work by Mason Spence and then see a rather tame free kick easily gathered by home keeper Nick Thompson.   In time added on at the end of the first half Bruce Wilson did well to leave his marker in his wake to cross to Thorne but his powerful header just cleared the crossbar.


Two early second half substitutions by the home side seemed to buck their attacking ideas but St Neots also looked far more direct in their approach and from a good cross by Thorne, Nathan Frater saw a net bound effort deflected wide by a back peddling defender.   Arlesey substitute Elliot Bailey headed wide from a Shariffu free kick but on the hour St Neots clearly stated their intent by sending on two attacking substitutes.   Thorne volleyed over the bar after clever work by Matt Spring, one of those substitutes, and St Neots began looking menacing down the left flank with Lorenzo Ferrari using his pace to good effect.  Matt Nolan was also utilised and now St Neots had three strikers on the field and this led to a positive final 15 minutes.   After 75 minutes a long throw from Jay Davies set up Ollie Thorne for a crisp finish that was assisted by a slight deflection and St Neots were at last level.   Two minutes later a defensive error let in Nathan Frater for his eighth goal of the campaign and a 2-1 lead and after that there was no looking back.   A third goal two minutes from time sealed the victory as Drew Roberts got on the end of a Ferrari cross after the substitute had left two defenders behind with his searing pace and St Neots had turned disappointment in the first half into three valuable league points.


St Neots: Greygoose, Spence, Bickerstaff, Hilliard, Frater (R), Hoyte, Davies, Thorne, Frater (N), Roberts, Wilson

Subs: Ferrari (for Wilson 61 mins), Spring (for Hilliard 61 mins), Nolan (for Spence 72 mins), Powell and Lee.

Cards: none

Goals: Thorne (75 mins), Frater (N) (77 mins), Roberts (88 mins)


Arlesey:  Thompson, Gough, Willett, Bailey (S), Maltay, Haran, Boot, Taylor, Gallagher, Tavernier, Shariffu

Subs: Engliaf (for Boot 46 mins), Bailey (E) (for Gallagher 61 mins), Carr (for Sharaffu 66 mins) Sage and McGovern.

Cards: Bailey (S) (Y – 33 )

Goals: McGovern (10 mins)


Attendance: 214


Referee: Geoffrey Russell (Northampton)



John Walker