St Neots Town FC 3 : 0 Arlesey Town
Match
34
St Neots Town FC 3 : 0
Arlesey Town
Saturday 07 February, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

 

ST NEOTS TOWN       3       ARLESEY TOWN      0

 

            A goal and a very impressive performance on his debut by Lee Clarke led St Neots to a very comfortable victory over struggling Arlesey. The former Peterborough United and Northern Ireland U21 international dovetailed neatly into St Neots midfield and took just nine minutes to announce his arrival with a stunning finish from a Lorenzo Ferrari cross. With only two wins in their last eight league outings, the Bedfordshire visitors looked short on ideas and confidence and this defeat sent them tumbling into the relegation zone.

            Clarke was not the only debutant in the St Neots side because 17 year old Ebey Marango, a product of St Neots Scholarship system and a regular member of the Club’s U18 side was also included in the starting line up. With Ben Mackey released from his contract by mutual consent, Lorenzo Ferrari was handed the striking role alongside Drew Roberts and did not look out of place. Only a third clean sheet at home must have been very pleasing for Manager David Batch who named three of his new signings in a very solid back four and the victory confirmed St Neots as within three points of a play off spot.

            St Neots were very quickly in control and from a fourth minute Matt Spring free kick, Mat Mitchel-King rose imperiously above the defence to head his side in front. Three minutes later a long throw from Jack Wilkinson created panic in the visiting defence and Drew Roberts bundled the ball over the line but was penalised and booked for deliberately handling the ball into the net. Ferrari then produced an acrobatic overhead effort that was palmed away by the goalkeeper and that was shortly followed by the Lee Clarke debut goal from the edge of the area.

            The majority of the action continued to be around the Arlesey penalty area and Roberts brought a good save from Thompson before being brought down by the keeper on the edge of the area.   The expected penalty kick was waved away, replaced by a free kick on the edge of the area and a booking for Thompson.  

            Although a spectator for much of the half, home custodian Paul Bastock had to be alert to turn away for a corner a Jack Vassey shot after 33 minutes – the only serious first half effort by the visitors and Matt Spring could have twice added to St Neots tally, heading his first effort wide from a Lewis Hilliard cross when left unmarked at the far post and then lobbing a speculative shot from 45 yards just wide of an empty goal after Thompson had charged out of his area to block an effort from Ferrari.

 

            Mat Mitchel-King had been injured just past the half hour by an unpunished clumsy foul by an onrushing Arlesey player and he failed to appear after half time suffering from a thigh injury with skipper Adam Tann moving seamlessly into the centre of defence. Substitute Sam Harty quickly made his presence felt setting up Clarke for a fierce volley just wide of the far post with the keeper rooted to his spot. Roberts had two chances marauding down the right flank putting the first over the bar and seeing the second from a narrow angle well saved by Thompson. A close range header from a corner by Adam Tann brought his best save of the match from the visiting keeper and the almost constant pressure paid off after 65 minutes when Drew Roberts beat the offside trap to collect a superb ball over the to from Tom Ward to net with a perfectly placed low shot just inside a post.

            That third goal killed off the game and although Arlesey did not give up and produced another effort from Vassey to test the reflexes of Paul Bastock the result was never in doubt.

 

St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Wilkinson, Clarke, Mitchel-King, Ward, Hilliard, Spring, Ferrari, Roberts, Marango

Subs: Harty (for Mitchel-King 46), Vieira (for Marango 62), Ford (for Hilliard 75), Bickerstaff and Plowright (R)

 Cards:  Roberts (Y – 6), Marango (Y – 47)

Goals:  Mitchel-King (4 mins), Clarke (9 mins), Roberts (65 mins)

 

Arlesey:  Thompson, Longden, Willett, Plowright (W), Sage, Corran, Powell, Gregson (L), Vassey, Lee, Ironton

Subs:  Lobjoit (for Willett 50), Gregson (J) (for Gregson (L) 57), Bailey (for Lee 72), Tavernier and Kegni.

Cards:  Thompson (Y – 23), Plowright (W) (Y – 64), Gregson (J) (Y – 83)

Goals:  none

 

Attendance: 372

 

Referee: Geoffrey Russell (Thrapston)

 

John Walker