Hungerford Town 3 : 3 St Neots Town FC
Hungerford Town 3 : 3
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 19 September, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

HUNGERFORD TOWN   3 - 3    ST NEOTS TOWN               

St Neots day began badly and got worse as it wore on.  

Then just as their proud away league record looked to have been curtailed full back Jamie Anton popped up with an equalising goal four minutes into added time – time added for the blatant time wasting tactics of their hosts.  

So they returned home with a point they deserved but looked unlikely to get when trailing 0-2 at half time and even less likely to get seven minutes from time when they conceded a third very sloppy goal.  

They arrived at Hungerford 25 minutes after the scheduled kick off time having been delayed by a blocked motorway that saw most of their players held up for an hour and three quarters and were allowed twenty five minutes to change and warm up before the delayed start.  

They then conceded those two first half goals but showed immense character and determination to fight their way back into the match.  

The enforced team change saw recent signing Josh Beech given his debut in place of the injured Nathan Frater and the return of Isaac Galliford for Gui Mailancol.   However a shuffle of the side saw Matt Mitchel-King line up in defence with Jamie Anton moving to full back and Adam Tann in midfield.  

St Neots had failed to win in two trips to Hungerford so their aim to put this record straight looked doomed in the early stages of the match.

After their rushed start St Neots never really settled in the opening 20 minutes and had just a single shot from Tom Meechan to test the home keeper. 

Meantime Alan O’Brien broke clear on the left and was only halted by a well-timed recovery tackle by Tom Ward, and Rhys Tyler’s cross-cum shot was well pushed clear by Andrew Wilton.  

St Neots have relied heavily this season on long throws as an attacking ploy but after 14 minutes they were caught out by the tables being turned on them as James Rusby’s long throw from the left was not cleared and Rhys Tyler bundled the ball in from close range. 

Ryan Hawkins sent an effort high over the bar but St Neots approach lacked cohesion and after 36 minutes Tyler pulled the ball back to Nat Jarvis unmarked on the edge off the penalty area and he doubled the lead with a neat volley on the turn.  St Neots tried to respond by Meechan had a shot well saved by Paul Strudley and Tom Ward won a Jack Wilkinson corner in the air but directed his header over the crossbar.

St Neots needed to find some second half inspiration and it came in the form of Luis Vieira back from a loan period with St Ives introduced in place of Galliford and his added pace was an immediate threat on the left flank.  

They also swapped Connor Hall and Matt Mitchel-King whose presence in midfield seemed to confuse the opposition who seemed content to filter back to concentrate of defending their two goals advantage. 

Beech headed narrowly wide from a Meechan corner but after 56 minutes the visitors got a vital toe hold back in the game in the form of a penalty kick. Hawkins pace allowed him to latch on to an under hit back pass by Day and as the St Neots striker went around the advancing keeper he was pulled down. 

The keeper seemed very fortunate only to pick up a caution and Tom Meechan confidently despatched the spot kick to make it 2-1.  

Seven minutes later Matt Mitchel-King rose high above the home defence to head in a Jack Wilkinson corner and the sides were now level. Now St Neots were in the ascendancy and Hawkins was again upended on the edge of the area earning a second home booking for the offender but the free kick came to nothing.  

On the break Hungerford still looked dangerous and Wilton made two good saves to deny substitutes Scott Rees and Harry Goodger but with seven minutes left St Neots seemed to have thrown a hard earned point away as Goodger was allowed to score from a narrow angle beating Wilton at his near post.  

However St Neots refused to be beaten and deep into injury time a corner was only cleared as far as Jamie Anton twenty yards from goal and he gleefully rapped in his first St Neots goal to ensure a share of the points.

St Neots: Wilton, Tann, Wilkinson, Hall, Ward, Anton, Beech, Mitchel-King, Meechan, Hawkins, Galliford

Subs: Vieira (for Galliford 46), Hobbs, Burton, Marango and Sutton

Cards:  none

Goals:  Meechan (pen) (56 mins), Mitchel-King (63 mins), Anton (90 + 4 mins)

Hungerford: Strudley, Horgan, John, Rusby, Day, Jones, Tyler, Collins, Jarvis, Draycott, O’Brien

Subs:  Brown (for O’Brien 12), Rees (for Draycott 68), Goodger (for Jones 68), Stow and Bossman.

Cards:  Strudley (Y – 56), John (Y – 65)

Goals:  Tyler (14 mins), Jarvis (36 mins), Goodger (83 mins)

Attendance: 116

Referee: Dale Wootton (Cheltenham)

John Walker