Cirencester Town 1 : 1 St Neots Town FC
Match
15
Cirencester Town 1 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 18 October, 2014 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

 

CIRENCESTER TOWN       1        ST NEOTS TOWN       1

 

This was a game that St Neots should have won but could have lost. They were by far the better side and had most of the chances as well as dominating possession for long spells but equally they could have returned home from their first ever visit to Cirencester empty handed. In the final minute of the match, with the home side producing a storming finish, a cross from the left flank by Aidan Bennett was sliced towards the top corner of the net by St Neots defender Ryan Frater. It looked like a tragic own goal to gift the Gloucestershire side all three points but Paul Bastock, for so long no more than a spectator, produced a brilliant full length save pushing the ball over the bar for a corner. Had the ball finished up in the net it would have been a travesty of justice and St Neots would only have had themselves to blame for their profligacy in front of goal but in the event the draw took their unbeaten league run away from home this season to nine matches. However with four draws in their last nine league games they are dropping too many points to cement their position as pacemakers.  

There were two team changes from the victory over Poole with Ollie Thorne and Matt Nolan coming into the starting line up to replace the injured Bruce Wilson and Nathan Frater. Much of the continuity of the match was affected by a swirling wind – not mastered by either side.

The match could hardly have had a worse start for after three minutes a flighted Matt Spring free kick found the head of Ollie Thorne who put the ball over the bar and play moved swiftly to the other end with the St Neots defence backtracking and a total misunderstanding the last two defenders Ryan Frater and the covering Josh Bickerstaff saw each leave the other to deal with a simple through ball allowing Ed Williams to slip between them and give Cirencester the lead.

This meant St Neots were chasing the game and although Matt Nolan volleyed wide and Drew Roberts shot across the face of goal they looked tentative in attack with far too many final passes going astray.

Then after 24 minutes they had a stroke of good fortune for with Nolan chasing a through ball wide of the goal he was brought down by home skipper Leigh Henry and a penalty awarded. The defender was booked and Lewis Hilliard calmly despatched the spot kick to level the scores. A midfield altercation involving players from both sides was sensibly calmed down by Referee Matt Rushton without bookings and the nearest St Neots came to getting a first half lead was when home keeper Glyn Garner did well to field a close range shot by Ollie Thorne.

The last kick of the half was a shot by home striker Nat Jarvis – the only time Bastock had been in serious action since retrieving the ball from the net when Cirencester had gone ahead.

St Neots got a quick wake up call just 22 seconds into the second half when Aidan Bennett got the ball in the net for the home side but was rightly ruled offside. Roberts shot over the bar and just afterwards sent a free kick the same way and Thorne volleyed over as well. A feature of St Neots’ attacking play were the long throws by Max York that caused panic in the home defence but the forwards could not capitalise.

Lewis Hilliard was booked for a late challenge and a Gavin Hoyte effort from a Spring corner was cleared off the line by Matt Liddiard. In one attack St Neots saw three shots blocked by defenders whilst at the other end the home side were becoming more adventurous with Bastock having to save from Jarvis and Bennett.   Hilliard then set up Roberts but Garner saved bravely at his feet and in the final five minutes Cirencester threw everything forward and stretched the visiting defence which just survived – thanks to Bastock.

 

St Neots: Bastock, York, Bickerstaff, Thorne, Frater (R), Hoyte, Davies, Spring, Nolan, Roberts, Hilliard

Subs: Ford (for Davies 63), Ferrari (for Nolan 75), Cracknell, Adjei and Greygoose.

Cards:  Hilliard (Y – 68)

Goals: Hilliard pen (24 mins)

 

Cirencester:  Garner, Jones, Prictor, Prichett, Liddiard, Henry, Reid, Mortimer-Jones,

Jarvis, Bennett, Williams

Subs:   Hooper (for Reid 74), Dale (for Jarvis 81), Wells, Dunton and Anson.

Cards:  Henry ( Y – 24), Mortimer-Jones (Y – 68)

Goals:  Williams (3 mins)

 

Attendance: 141

 

Referee: Matt Rushton (Pewsey)

 

 

John Walker