St Neots Town FC 2 : 3 Chesham United
St Neots Town FC 2 : 3
Chesham United
Tuesday 21 October, 2014 19:45

Southern League Premier Division


St Neots suffered only their second league defeat in sixteen completed matches this season at the hands of Chesham who last year finished as runners up in the league.  For the first time this season St Neots named the same starting line up that had featured three days earlier at Cirencester but that formation was not to last very long.   After just eleven minutes central defender Ryan Frater suffered a facial injury in an accidental clash and despite lengthy treatment he was unable to continue.  

Whilst playing with ten men St Neots conceded their first goal of the evening and from that point on they looked defensively unsure with Chesham’s last two goals coming through decidedly poor cover at the back.  

Even without this setback St Neots looked second best for long periods and the most disappointed player will be Drew Roberts – leading scorer for Chesham last season – who had a very quiet match against his former colleagues and was substituted in the second half.  

Ollie Thorne was given the task of filling in at the back but he looked unsure at times and his distribution was poor.   With Poole winning on the evening more valuable ground was lost on the long time league leaders.

The first attack of the game by the visitors almost produced a spectacular opening as Simon Thomas and Toby Little combined to set up Dave Pearce but his rising drive passed just the wrong side of a post. The injury was the next significant action and it took St Neots five minutes to decide to send on Dean Cracknell for his first league appearance since 22nd March after his lengthy injury break.  

It took St Neots some time to settle with two efforts from Matt Nolan and an Ollie Thorne header the only times that Shane Gore in the visiting goal was seriously tested. Then after 32 minutes former St Neots striker Simon Thomas did extremely well to control the ball tight to the left goal line and cross for Ryan Blake to shoot home at the near post without a challenge from a defender. 

 Gore did produce the save of the match to deny a Matt Spring free kick and Drew Roberts volleyed disappointingly over the bar when unmarked at the far post. The last couple of minutes in the first half produced close efforts at both ends with Lewis Hilliard having a net bound shot blocked and Dave Pearce rattling the St Neots crossbar.  

Then four minutes into time added for the Frater injury St Neots were handed a lifeline when a miss hit lob by Jay Davies looped over the head of Gore to make it 2-1 at half time.

Roberts and Spring had early second half efforts for St Neots but both were off target and it quickly became apparent that Chesham was more interested in protecting their slim lead than adding to it.  

They packed defence and midfield leaving just a single attacker and began to waste time. Eventually after 65 minutes the Referee lost patience and booked Gore for deliberate time wasting but the keeper then saved smartly from Max York.  

Then totally against the run of play after 77 minutes Chesham effectively clinched the points as Thomas flicked on a long clearance and Ryan Blake sprinted between the two statuesque central defenders to make it 3-1 and claim his fifth goal in two games against St Neots this season.  

This latest setback saw St Neots produce some determined attacking play in the last quarter of an hour but their efforts proved too little too late. They did claim a late consolation goal in the 89th minute when another Matt Spring free kick was touched in at the far post by Max York to claim his first ever goal for St Neots.  

The Referee added on six minutes at the end of the game but the Chesham tactics of clearing the ball as far away from their goal as possible without any genuine attacking intention proved effective enough to see them hang on for all three points which on the full ninety minutes plus play they deserved.

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

Subs: Cracknell (for Frater (R) 16), Ford (for Hilliard 68), Frater (N) (for Roberts 81) Adjei and Ferrari.

Cards:  none

Goals: Davies (45 + 4 mins), York (90 + 2)

Chesham:  Gore, Fletcher, Braithwaite, Malone, Fenton, Towner, Pearce, Smith, Blake, Thomas, Little


Subs:   Wood, Bell, Rowe, Yeboah and Beasant.

Cards:  Thomas (Y – 42), Gore (Y – 65), Braithwaite (Y – 89)

Goals:  Blake 2 (32 and 77 mins), Pearce (16 mins)

Attendance: 233

Referee: John Steel (Ely)

john Walker