St Neots Town FC 0 : 1 Kettering Town
St Neots Town FC 0 : 1
Kettering Town
Saturday 12 December, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division


This match will be remembered for two controversial goalmouth incidents – one at each end – and precious little else. 

Unfortunately for St Neots the decision against them settled the outcome of a disappointing encounter that was as drab as the weather. Still without injured defenders Tom Ward and Shane Blackett, St Neots looked short of ideas and confidence and a further blow came when Drew Roberts failed to shake off a thigh strain.  

However Tom Meechan was back after his three match suspension but he received little service from his side in a match in which neither sides came to terms with the blustery conditions.  

Defensively St Neots looked fairly sound but having to play Matt Mitchel-King at the back robs them of some steel in midfield and although the versatile Isaac Galliford looked bright their overall performance was well below par.  

So at the halfway stage of their season St Neots suffered their fourth home defeat and start the remainder of their programme from the bottom half of the league table.

With the elements in their favour Kettering began the stronger of the two sides.   James Brighton sent a free kick the wrong side of a post and from a corner by the same player Dom Langden sent a looping header over the defence but saw the ball rebound from the crossbar.  

St Neots first attack through a long throw by Brett Longden tested the visiting defence but Chris Carruthers headed over his own bar to relieve the pressure but Kettering were using the wind well and created further chances as Liam Canavan had a low shot finger tipped for a corner by Andy Wilton and then visiting skipper Brett Solkhon sent a header onto the roof of the net.  

St Neots seemed to be chasing shadows as Kettering kept the ball well but St Neots did go close in a quick break when from a Meechan corner, Mitchel-King had a close range shot blocked on the goal line  

Then after 20 minutes a searching cross by Brighton saw St Neots keeper Andy Wilton rise to grasp the ball but under what looked to be an illegal change the ball squirmed loose to be rolled into the empty net by Renee Howe and St Neots protests fell on deaf ears.  

Brighton shot over the bar and at the other end Meechan went down under a strong challenge by Carruthers but his penalty appeals were ignored.  

St Neots were creating little and having to rely on half chances and just before the break Meechan chased down a through ball and cleverly made space for himself but shot disappointingly over the bar.

The second half challenge was for St Neots to utilise the conditions as well as Kettering had in the first 45 minutes but this proved a vain hope.  

The visitors looked happy to defend their slender lead without making any real move to increase it and it was frustrating for the home side who dominated possession but created very little.  

Ryan Frater and Mitchel-King easily snuffed out any forward moves by Kettering but the home side needed a play maker to create openings for the front players. They swapped Ryan Hawkins and Lee Clarke to add variation and in a rate Kettering sortie to the St Neots end Liam Canavan shot well wide when the home side looked vulnerable.  

After 74 minutes a teasing Jamie Anton cross was well held by Keeper Paul Walker at full stretch and Remy Gordon went through the Kettering defence with pace but was blocked as the keeper left his line.   

Five minutes later St Neots thought they had an equalising goal when leading scorer Tom Meechan forced the ball into the Kettering net from a Hawkins free kick but after vehement protests by the visiting side Meechan was booked for handball and the effort ruled out.   Meechan then limped off to be replaced by Chris Lewis and Wilton had to be alert to deny substitute Courtney Baker-Richardson a second Kettering goal a minute from time. 

In added time St Neots might have snatched a point but Lee Clarke’s full length header was deflected for a corner. 

Overall it was a poor performance by St Neots who must now find a second gear in order to improve their position.

St Neots: Wilton, Anton, Longden, Galliford, Frater, Mitchel-King, Clarke, Jones, Meechan, Hawkins, Gordon

Subs: Lewis (for Meechan 82), Mailancol, Hobbs, Tann and Dean

Cards:  Mitchel-King (Y – 39), Meechan (Y – 79)

Goals:  none

Kettering: Walker, Bateman, Carruthers, Solkhon, Langden, Pepe-Ngoma, Carvalho, Mulligan, Howe, Canavan, Brighton

Subs:  Baker-Richardson (for Howe 46), Grocott (for Carvalho 84), Stephens (for Canavan 84), Sandy and Hill

Cards:  Stephens (Y – 90)

Goals:  Howe (20 mins)

Attendance: 438

Referee: James Turner (Kings Lynn)

John Walker