Slough Town 2 : 2 St Neots Town FC
Slough Town 2 : 2
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 05 December, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

SLOUGH TOWN   2 -2   ST NEOTS TOWN              

A fifth successive trip on the road and another very useful draw for a St Neots team that is gradually rediscovering its form and confidence. 

Only one defeat in their last seven league outings sees their record returning to the level achieved at the start of 2015 and the appointment of Manager David Batch.   For the first time since the end of August there was an unchanged starting line up in successive games with only two significant absentees in Tom Meechan (suspended) and Tom Ward (injured) and the performances are reflecting a level of consistency to match the line-up.  

There was also a return to action just sixteen weeks after breaking his leg for Remy Gordon who had a ten minutes substitute appearance after being carefully nursed back to fitness. 

However the result should have been better had not a controversial refereeing decision gone again St Neots in the first half before they were further penalised by a brilliant penalty save by the home keeper. 

Slough are fast becoming a bit of a bogey side for when the two sides had met in the Central Division promotion season the Buckinghamshire side threatened to derail St Neots’ ambitions by being the only side to record a league double over them.

For the third time in eight days the high wind made conditions very difficult but to the credit of both sides there was some entertaining football served up.  

St Neots made much the better start with Ryan Hawkins leading the attack looking lively to lay on a fourth minute cross that just required a touch and six minutes later clear on goal he was cynically brought down from behind by home skipper Dan Hicks who looked very fortunate only to be issued with a yellow card.  

From the resultant free kick Hawkins’ effort was well saved by Mark Scott and then Drew Roberts outwitted his marker to cross to the far post where the unmarked Lee Clarke was only inches from putting the visitors ahead.  

As the half wore on Slough began to threaten and Charlie Mpi beat Andy Wilton in a race to a through ball but skied his effort over the bar.  

An Isaac Galliford volley after 23 minutes was well saved and two minutes later two close range efforts in the same attack by Clarke were both blocked by first Scott and then Sean Fraser.  

After 27 minutes St Neots went ahead when a long throw by Brett Longden was not cleared and Ryan Frater celebrated his return to St Neots by flicking home from close range – his first goal since 1st January – coincidentally the Manager’s first game in charge.  

St Neots then lost Frater’s co-defender Shane Blackett who was injured and replaced by Adam Tann with Matt Mitchel-King moving back into defence. Then on the stroke of half time from a Lewis Putman corner Frater seemed to be shoved in the back as he went up to clear – the ball striking his arm – but instead of giving St Neots a free kick the Referee gave Slough a penalty converted by Ed Smith.

After the break St Neots pushed Clarke up front with Hawkins moving to a wider role on the right and after the early exchanges St Neots went ahead for the second time in the match when poor defending by Slough saw the ball ping pong around the area before Isaac Galliford shot home through the confused defence.  

Slough lifted their game and Smith tested Wilton before winning several corners.   From the last of these after 72 minutes Lewis Putman’s cross was only cleared as far as Ryan Hope some 25 yards from goal and he hit a hard low shot goal-wards that took two deflections the second of which struck Charlie Mpi and he claimed his sides’ second levelling goal.  

Three minutes later Hawkins was brought down just inside the penalty area by Hope and St Neots were awarded a penalty.  

Slough protested long and loud at this decision culminating in Hope being sent off for his refusal to accept the decision. With regular penalty taker Tom Meechan suspended the ball was handed to Drew Roberts who hit a well struck and well placed shot but Scott anticipated brilliantly to push the ball onto the bar from where it was bundled clear. 

However St Neots tried hard in the remaining 15 minutes to make the extra man count without any success and Smith squandered a late chance to steal all three points for Slough shooting over the bar from four yards.

St Neots: Wilton, Anton, Longden, Mitchel-King, Frater, Blackett, Clarke, Jones, Hawkins, Roberts, Galliford

Subs: Tann (for Blackett 35), Gordon (for Roberts 80), Hobbs, Mailancol and Lewis

Cards:  Longden (Y – 35), Roberts (Y – 45+2), Jones (Y – 49)

Goals:  Frater (27 mins), Galliford (62 mins)

Slough: Scott, Fraser, Clayton, Hollis, Hicks, Hope, Putman, Webb, Mpi, Smith, Harris

Subs:  Rumbold (for Mpi 79), Dhillon, Maloney, Strutton and Gokmen.

Cards:  Hope (RED – 75), Hicks (Y – 10)

Goals:  Smith (45 mins), Mpi (72 mins)

Attendance: 280

Referee: Shaun Barry (Northampton)

John Walker