Paulton Rovers 2 : 5 St Neots Town FC
Paulton Rovers 2 : 5
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 10 October, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division


PAULTON ROVERS       2       ST NEOTS TOWN       5       


St Neots recorded a well-deserved but much needed League victory over bottom club Paulton – their first since 31st August – to get their league programme back under way following their midweek FA Cup exit. There were two goals apiece for Tom Meechan and Ryan Hawkins and a fifth – a debut goal – from the impressive Josh Beech making only his second start in midfield.  


The injury list that has restricted team selection was further exacerbated when Nathan Frater suffered a midweek injury at work but Lee Clarke still awaiting surgery played the full ninety minutes in a team that featured a much changed starting line-up.   Jack Wilkinson swapped places with Connor Hall with the latter moving to full back and Josh Beech formed the midfield pairing with Brett Longden.  


Despite conceding two goals including a penalty the defensive wall of the reshaped back four looked solid and confident winning all their aerial battles and the overall approach of the side was of more constructive play than of late with less of the so called ‘long ball’ tactics.


The revised line up took some time to get going and apart from a couple of lengthy off target shots at either end there was little to report until St Neots stamped their authority with the first goal after 17 minutes. Meechan played strike partner Ryan Hawkins away on the right and as he made for goal he was brought down by Josh Ford and Meechan confidently stroked home the penalty kick.  Meechan then set up Jack Wilkinson wide left but his firmly hit shot was narrowly wide.


St Neots were now in the ascendancy and after 32 minutes delightful interplay between Beech and Meechan set up Hawkins again.   Defender Ford got his foot in to send the ball back to his keeper but it was woefully short and Goalkeeper Ben John’s clearance hit Hawkins and rebounded kindly for the St Neots striker who rolled the ball into the empty net. 


There was then an unnecessary display of petulance when most of the players converged on an incident which saw Lee Clarke and Josh Ford both booked but the game then settled and the only threat to St Neots two goals half time lead was a shot from Ross Staley well saved by Andrew Wilton.


St Neots almost increased their lead after 54 minutes when a snap volley by Clarke was cleared off the line by Jack Allward but then three minutes later Paulton made their bid to get back in the game when Josh Morgan-Williams wriggled between two defenders to beat Wilton at his near post with a crisp finish.  


However within two minutes, St Neots two goals cushion was restored when Clarke’s cross from the right was blocked on the line and Meechan was perfectly placed to slot home the rebound. Strangely Paulton made no attempt to boost their single front runner and St Neots continued to dominate play from midfield and after 73 minutes the lively Ryan Hawkins robbed Ford and went clear to confidently round the goalkeeper to make the score 4-1. One minute later from a similar position Hawkins was close to a hat trick but this time he was denied by the tightness of the angle.  


St Neots had the luxury of sending on substitutes without upsetting their general dominance of the game but against the run of play after 82 minutes they conceded a free kick on the edge of the area which was driven firmly into the defensive wall by Kyle Tooze and harshly, a penalty was awarded for handball, which substitute Tom Knighton netted, sending Wilton the wrong way.  

St Neots seemed unfazed by this and had the final word six minutes from time when the perfect free kick by Hawkins out wide on the right, found the unmarked head of Josh Beech and he made no mistake from eight yards.     


With three home games in the next four this should restore the confidence of the side and inspire a continuation of the improved performances and results.


St Neots: Wilton, Tann, Hall, Clarke, Ward, Blackett, Beech, Longden, Meechan, Hawkins, Wilkinson

Subs: Galliford (for Wilkinson 69), Horne (for Longden 76), Ofosu (for Meechan 84 mins) and Mailancol.

Cards:  Clarke (Y – 33), Hall (Y – 39), Tann (Y – 45)

Goals: Meechan 2 (17 mins pen & 59 mins), Hawkins 2 (32 & 73 mins), Beech (84 mins)


Paulton: John, Grimshaw, Allward, Harris, Allan, Ford, Brown, Staley, Morgan-Williams, Ricketts, Tooze.

Subs:  Knighton (for Staley 66),O’Hare, Rudge and Fey.

Cards:  Ford (Y – 33)

Goals:  Morgan-Williams (57mins), Knighton (82 mins pen)


Attendance: 180


Referee: Richard Morris (Bristol)


John Walker