St Neots Town FC 0 : 1 Frome Town
SLP 34
St Neots Town FC 0 : 1
Frome Town
Saturday 09 February, 2013 15:00

Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division

ST NEOTS TOWN  0       FROME TOWN  1     

St Neots supporters were left scratching their heads after this very poor performance against a visiting side who had not won a match since before Christmas.   

Manager Iain Parr named an unchanged line up after their excellent midweek home victory over Chesham but they never performed anywhere near the standard they had set themselves four days earlier. After gifting the visitors a totally unnecessary early goal after just three minutes St Neots found themselves faced by a team who employed an ultra defensive formation with one man up front and the rest behind the ball to defend their slender advantage for the remaining 87 minutes. They were allowed some outrageous time wasting tactics that did see the Referee eventually add on a totally inadequate four minutes added time. St Neots inability to break through this packed defence was due in part to a lack of imagination and partly due to some poor individual performances notably from their front two. However Ben Mackey and Craig Calver can justifiably claim that the service they received was very poor and that the rest of their colleagues made a very poor attempt to use their almost total domination to their advantage. With league leaders Leamington the next visitors there needs to be a significant improvement if St Neots are to compete.

The first real action of the match after three minutes saw St Neots concede what proved to be the only goal. Frome attacked along the left side and the cross was hit hopefully towards goal where three defenders and the goalkeeper looked hesitant and Dave Gilroy intelligently slid the ball wide to the unmarked Mike Perrott and he made no mistake from 15 yards. St Neots needed a prompt response and their first effort from Ben Mackey brought a full length save from visiting keeper Darren Chitty. However there was little significant action in the final third of the field at either end until the 25th minute when a typical long range effort by Lewis Hilliard beat Chitty but landed on the cross bar. A second effort – a free kick – by the same St Neots player landed on the roof of the net and then Dan Jacob crossed to the far post where the unmarked Mackey fired his shot disappointingly into the side netting. Just two minutes before half time Frome summoned their second shot of the match – a free kick from Josh Brigham that flew wide of its target.

Frome did manage the first effort after the break after Arthur Lee had been dispossessed but a fierce volley from Matt Smith was also wide. After 53 minutes St Neots then made a strange double substitution sending on full backs Ryan Auger and Ed Adjei for their counterparts. It added little to St Neots quest for an equalising goal and seemed to be just squad rotation. After 68 minutes there was a perceptive move to try a different approach as skipper Dan Jacob moved up to make a three man attack but it made little difference. Kyle Assante was then introduced for Calver with 15 minutes left and it was he who had St Neots best two chances to steal a point. With six minutes left he rose to head narrowly over the bar following a corner and almost on full time he drifted wide to chase a Hilliard cross but was off balance and his shot was well wide. In added time Ryan Auger moved up to send a searing shot wide of the far post and that signalled the start of Frome’s victory celebrations.

St Neots: Giddens, Nkinga, Sage, Sear, Lee, Hoyte, Hilliard, Davies, Calver, Mackey, Jacob.
Subs: Auger (for Nkinga 53 mins), Adjei (for Sage 53 mins), Assante (for Calver 75 mins) and Wood.
Cards: Sear (Y – 75)

Frome: Chitty, Brigham, Cooper, Evans, Thompson, Hobbs, Smith, Evans, Gilroy, Perrott, Jeffries.
Subs:  Hulbert (for Gilroy 61 mins), Matthews (for Hulbert 90 mins), Reaney, Wade and Ford.
Cards: Evans (Y – 37), Thompson (Y – 72), Smith (Y – 77).

Attendance: 265