Dorchester Town 1 : 1 St Neots Town FC
Match
44
Dorchester Town 1 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 11 April, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

 

DORCHESTER TOWN       1        ST NEOTS TOWN       1

 

As we reach the last two nervy matches of the season the current position of St Neots’ hopes for a play in the play offs in two weeks time is as follows.   If St Neots win their last two matches (at home to Chippenham and away at Frome) – and they have drawn their last five (!) – then Weymouth (with a game in hand) will need to get seven points from their three matches (at home to Corby and Poole and away to Biggleswade) to push St Neots below that coveted fifth placed finish.  Less likely is that if Hungerford lost their last two matches (away at Cirencester and at home to Paulton) they could be overhauled by two St Neots victories.  If St Neots beat Chippenham next Saturday the outcomewill go to the last day of the season when St Neots’320 miles round trip to Frome will be critical – and Frome could still be fighting the threat of relegation that afternoon!   After around 40 weeks of competition it is still all down to ifs and maybes.

 

This was all set up by St Neots’ draw at Dorchester where sadly it was the case of a repeat of their recent form with valuable points potentially surrendered against opponents with little to fight for themselves.   St Neots created almost all the better scoring chances, they dominated possession especially in the second half and were quite clearly the better side but that all important goal that should have won them the game did not materialize.   The players cannot be criticised for their effort because that was there in abundance but they were at times unlucky and at other times wasteful with their best chances.   However with only one defeat in their last eighteen outings under Manager David Batch this should surely be the springboard for more success than they are assured of at this late stage of the season.   In Drew Roberts St Neots have one if the leading scorers in the league but sadly he missed this match due to a long time private commitment elsewhere and that final spark in front of goal was missing.   His absence meant that defender Tom Ward returned to the reshaped side after serving a two match suspension and it was he who got the vital goal that did ensure that the side did not return from Dorset empty handed.

 

St Neots began this match confidently against a side that last season was playing in the Conference South.   After three minutes Brett Longden cut in to set up Lewis Hilliard who shot was pushed for a corner at full stretch by Alan Walker-Harris.  From that corner the ball ran loose to Matt Spring who saw his shot blocked and then Nathan Frater failed to catch a through ball with the home defence square.   Dorchester responded with Nick Crittenden heading wide from a Bradley Tarbuck cross to the far post and then Lewis Horsburgh played clear saw his effort well saved by Paul Bastock.   Despite play being end to end clear chances became few with each defence well on top but the sides were guilty of not playing enough creative football with the option of a long ball over the top in use too frequently.   St Neots did create three more good chances in the first half but failed to convert them.   After 21 minutes a trademark Hilliard shot from outside the area was only just too high and then a deft flick fron Lee Clarke freed Nathan Frater whose low shot was well saved by the keeper.   However the outstanding chance of the half was created after 26 minutes when Nathan Frater did well to beat his marker close to the bye line and his perfect cross was met by the arriving Brett Longden whose free header sailed harmlessly over the bar.

 

Another positive start after the break saw St Neots reverting to a 4-3-3 formation with Hilliard joining the two strikers up front and it brought dividends with Nathan Frater seeing Walker-Harris produce a fine save to deny him and then when a Hilliard blockbusting shot was dropped by the keeper it was Clarke who followed in but he could only lift the ball over the crossbar.    For a ten minutes spell St Neots bombarded the Dorchester goal winning three successive corners and from the third of these Ryan Frater got up above the defence but saw his header land on the roof of the net.   The Dorchester management realised they had to do something to counter this so they changed the shape of their side by introducing two substitutes and for a spell the game settled.   St Neots was still enjoying the bulk of possession and Matt Mitchel-King saw a shot blocked with the home keeper out of position and Hilliard sent a volley over the bar.   Then after 64 minutes and totally against the run of play Dorchester took the lead.   A long clearance saw Adam Tann slip as he attempted to head away allowing substitute Dan Smith to go clear and beat Paul Bastock with as low shot.  To their credit St Neots showed great character to recover from this setback and seven minutes later after an Adam Tann header from a Matt Spring free kick had rebounded from a post Tom Ward claimed his third goal in a month heading home a Jack Wilkinson corner to level the scores.   After that St Neots introduced fresh legs in a bid to snatch a winner but the closest they came was in added time when a Clarke header from another Spring free kick was deflected wide by a defender.

 

 

 

St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Wilkinson, Mitchel-King,Frater (R), Ward, Longden, Spring, Clarke, Frater (N),Hilliard,

SubsHobbs (for Hilliard 64 mins)Harty (for Tann 74 mins), Vieira (for Frater (N) 86 mins), Bickerstaff andFerrari.

Cards:  Ward (Y – 80), Frater (N) (Y -  84)

GoalsWard (71 mins)

 

DorchesterWalker-Harris, Murray, Smeeton, Morgan, Walker, Dillon, Crittenden, Lanahan, Watson, Horsburgh, Tarbuck

Subs:  Smith (for Horsburgh 56 mins), Jermyn (for Crittenden 56 mins), Brookes, Old and Gleeson.

Cards:  Morgan (Y – 80)

Goals: Smith (64 mins)

 

Attendance383

 

RefereeAndrew Bennett (Hatherleigh, Devon))

 

John Walker