St Neots Town FC 2 : 1 Banbury United
St Neots Town FC 2 : 1
Banbury United
Saturday 31 January, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division


ST NEOTS TOWN       2       BANBURY UNITED      1


            Drew Roberts saved his side potential embarrassment three minutes from time when he netted a typical opportunist goal to seal all three points against bottom of the table Banbury United.  

            It was the striker’s first goal in five games but it took his total to 24 for the season to equal the tally of last season’s top scorer Lewis Hilliard. Banbury looked like a side struggling at the wrong end of the table but they never gave up trying and their pace in attack always made them look potentially dangerous on the break.

            St Neots paraded their latest signing, the experienced Mat Mitchel-King, recently with Dartford in the Football Conference but who can number amongst his former clubs Crewe Alexandra and AFC Wimbledon in the Football League. He slotted into midfield in place of the now departed David Hutton, who has gone to near neighbours Biggleswade Town and made a solid start as his side threatened much but delivered little in terms of goal scoring chances. Also making his St Neots debut, as a second half substitute, was full back Sam Harty, who became the fourth new signing for Manager David Batch.


            There was a slow start to the game and St Neots got a shock in Banbury’s first attack after nine minutes when the visitors’ snatched a surprise lead. Adam Tann conceded a careless free kick that was crossed to the far post by Jordan Green and when the home defence failed to clear Lerou Tahin pounced to score from close range. Mitchel-King had an early impact heading on a long throw from Max York to bring a full length push clear from visiting keeper Leigh Bedwell and then he had a threatening shot blocked by a defender. Drew Roberts broke clear on the left to cross to the far post when Ben Mackey just failed to get a touch and then at the other end lone striker Tahin put a snap shot just wide.

            St Neots’ approach play was neat and concise but their final ball lacked quality and accuracy but they drew level after 34 minutes when a long cross from the left by Josh Bickerstaff saw a rare glancing header by Lewis Hilliard elude the despairing dive of Bedwell to creep in at the near post. It was no less than St Neots possession deserved and three minutes later Ben Mackey netted again only to be ruled fractionally offside and just before the break he had another net bound effort deflected for a corner.

            Max York was withdrawn at half time with new man Sam Harty deputising and he quickly set up Hilliard for a weak finish. However, just past the hour, a Matt Spring corner was scraped off the line by Bedwell as far as Hilliard and his well directed shot towards the top corner of the net brought the save of the match from the visiting keeper. Tahin looked lucky only to pick up a yellow card after what looked like an elbow on Tann and in a bid to insert more pace to their attack St Neots sent on Lorenzo Ferrari. In a rare Banbury sortie forward, the versatile Jack Wilkinson moved from midfield to full back did well to clear off the St Neots line meantime frustration was growing with several promising St Neots attacks ended by the offside flag. 

            Mitchel-King volleyed over the bar and when another disappointing draw looked to be St Neots fate they snatched a winner three minutes from time. Harty set up the chance with a cross from the right and when Ferrari’s initial shot was blocked, Drew Roberts displayed his predatory skills being in the right place at the right time with a clinical finish. A second goal had always looked likely to clinch the points and it could have been even better at the death but for a smart save by Bedwell from Matt Spring.



St Neots: Bastock, York, Bickerstaff, Mitchel-King, Tann, Ward, Hilliard, Spring, Mackey, Roberts, Wilkinson

Subs: Harty (for York 46), Ferrari (for Bickerstaff 67), Vieira (for Mackey 74), Ford and Plowright.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Hilliard (34 mins), Roberts (87 mins)


Banbury:  Bedwell, White, Martin, Cray, Hartigan, Ryan, Green, Martin, Tahin, Howards, Brown

Subs:  George (for Howards 55), Walcott (for Gilbert 67), Lewars (for Tahin 75) Tappin and Pope.

Cards:  Green (Y – 44), Tahin (Y – 63). Hartigan (Y – 77)

Goals:  Tahin (9 mins)


Attendance: 319


Referee: Sam Lewis (Flitwick)


John Walker