Bideford 1 : 1 St Neots Town FC
Bideford 1 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 22 November, 2014 15:00

Southern League Premier Division


BIDEFORD        1         ST NEOTS TOWN        1          


Dean Cracknell has been with St Neots almost a year but a series of injuries has restricted his availability but he was recalled to the side for this match for only his fifteenth appearance and he celebrated by scoring his first ever goal for St Neots.   Sadly that was not enough to ensure all three points because struggling Bideford with only two wins in their last ten matches sneaked a late equalising goal two minutes from time and those two dropped points saw St Neots slide down a further place to fourth in the league table.   Following his sides’ loss of form St Neots boss Gary King opted to rest three of his regular players ahead of next weeks’ important FA trophy engagement bringing in Cracknell for Matt Spring, Ed Adjei for Max York and handing a club debut to Tom Ward for club skipper Gavin Hoyte.   The fresh players all performed well and there was also a return to the club for popular striker Ben Mackey who came off the bench seven minutes from time for his first appearance for St Neots since leaving for Stourbridge in March 2013.   The overall team performance produced an improvement on its recent showing at home to Cambridge City but once again there was a lack of sharpness in front of goal and the club will be hoping that the return of Mackey (44 goals in 55 appearances) will be the key to a much sought after upturn in fortunes.


After their long trip to North Devon St Neots began confidently but their two opening attacks were both cut short by bad tackles that went unpunished other than the awarding of free kicks.    Lewis Hilliard picked out Drew Roberts with a long cross but his hurried volley was wide and at the other end Bideford’s first credible attempt on goal saw Paul Bastock fumble a lob from Danny Wring over the crossbar.   On a break the visitors saw Jay Davies set up Dean Cracknell but his poor first touch robbed him of a potential opening but Bideford was looking composed in attack despite employing just Ben Watson as a lone striker and both Sean Downing and Richard Groves failed to test Bastock when well placed.   St Neots approach play was looking promising but it seemed that the final ball in each attack lacked quality and the service to strikers Roberts and acting skipper Chris Dillon was poor.   From a good move Ben Ford curled a shot just the wrong side of a post and when play moved to the other end Dave Deeney did well to deflect a narrow angled Danny Wring shot for a corner and then there was danger when a clumsy challenge on Watson ion the edge of the penalty area earned Ben Ford a booking and conceded a free kick that was fired into the defensive wall.


Just two minutes after the restart Lewis Hilliard skipped past two defenders and set himself up for a shot but he was hacked down by Nick Milton who was rewarded with a booking.   Home keeper Grant Fisher then produced the save of the match turning Ben Ford’s exquisite free kick around a post and then the home side had to substitute the injured Wring sending on defender Danny Tapp to add height and weight to their attack.   Then after 55 minutes the best move of the entire match produced St Neots goal.   Ben Ford split the home defence to pick out the overlapping Ed Adjei and his clever pull back was helped on by Dillon to the unmarked Dean Cracknell who drilled the ball into the net.   That should have been the confidence builder St Neots sought but it merely signalled a spell of attacking pressure by the home side in search of an equaliser.   Ryan Frater and Tom Ward were immense in defence as St Neots mopped up the home efforts and Bastock chipped in with an important save at the feet of Watson.   The introduction late in the game of Ben Mackey saw him produce one snap shot that passed the wrong side of the far post but the late pressure came from Bideford.  Two minutes from time a silly foul throw handed the home side a lifeline which saw a long cross not cleared and allowed the hard working Ben Watson to bundle the equalising goal in at the far post.




St Neots: Bastock, Deeney, Adjei, Ford, Frater (R), Ward, Davies, Cracknell, Dillon, Roberts, Hilliard

Subs: Mackey (for Roberts 83), Spring, York, Hoyte and Ferrari.

Cards:  Ford (Y – 42), Cracknell (Y – 86)

Goal:  Cracknell (55 mins)


Bideford:  Fisher, Sampson, Reed, Downing, Harrison, Milton, Groves, Parcell, Watson, Veal, Wring

Subs:   Tapp (for Wring 50), Barker (for Parcell 81), Chaney and Villis.

Cards:  Milton (Y – 47), Sampson (Y – 78), Downing ( Y – 90)

Goal:  Watson (88 mins)


Attendance: 199


Referee: Mark Whaley (Plymouth)


John Walker