St Neots Town FC 1 : 0 Paulton Rovers
Match
38
St Neots Town FC 1 : 0
Paulton Rovers
Saturday 05 March, 2016 15:00

 

Southern League Premier Division

 

ST NEOTS TOWN       1         PAULTON ROVERS        0      

 

Lee Clarke returning to the side after missing the last six matches through injury claimed an important late goal – only his fifth league goal this season – to give St Neots a vital three points against relegation haunted Paulton. The victory completed St Neots’ first league double of the season and should boost their confidence in their remaining nine matches.  Paulton still seven points from safety were looking for only a second away win of the season and they played their part in a closely competitive match and created chances but seldom tested home keeper Alex Archer.  

 

St Neots once again shuffled their pack welcoming back Lee Clarke for the injured George Casey and included loanee centre half Danny Burns along with Ben Burton and Charlie Coulson with Jordan Brown and Dan Schiavi starting on the bench and teenage full back Jordan Heywood rested.  

 

Despite the stormy weather the sides produced some attractive, if cautious football with the three points at stake vital to the ambitions of both teams to feature at Step Three next season.

 

The early skirmishes were end to end but produced few clear chances although Drew Roberts was looking sharp up from for St Neots seeing visiting keeper Ben John save a low shot before a second effort rebounded from a goalpost to be cleared. Leon Jeanne was lively for the visitors on the left flank and he twice tested Alex Archer from distance. After 20 minutes Alex Grimshaw dallied on a clearance and was robbed by Roberts who was thwarted when John dived bravely at his feet. A free kick by Steve Williams cleared all the home defenders and bounced dangerously in front of the surprised Archer but he managed to claw the ball away for a corner. Josh Dawkin then set up Roberts with a delightful square pass but John produced the save of the match to deny the home striker.  

 

With Lee Clarke partnering Roberts up front St Neots looked a far better balanced side but they almost gifted Paulton a goal when Archer raced from his lined to clear but miskicked and it was left to a good interception by Tom Ward to save the day and the two sides went to half time with everything still to play for.

 

If St Neots had just shaded the first half the visitors had the better of possession and play upon the restart. Kelvin Douglas sent a dangerous free kick across the face of goal and a rare mistake by Tom Ward freed Mario Mateus who was slow to capitalize and Ward got back with a well-timed tackle. Archer had to be alert to save a well-placed shot by Jeanne and in a bid to pep up their approach St Neots introduced substitutes Remy Gordon who had been missing with injury since Christmas and teenager Jordan Brown. Both had an effect on St Neots attacking efforts with Gordon’s first shot on target deflected narrowly over the crossbar. Peter Clark had a shot deflected after neat footwork by Lee Clarke and Tom Ward just failed to reach a Gordon cross at the far post. Then with ten minutes left St Neots went on the offensive creating three chances in as many minutes. From a Gordon corner skipper Adam Tann had a header cleared off the line by Josh Ford and then Peter Clark burst through and held his head in disbelief as the keeper going the wrong way blocked his shot with his feet.

 

The keeper then was beaten again when a defender blocked a header from debut boy Danny Burns from a Roberts corner and St Neots supporters were beginning to think that the ball would just not go into their opponents’ net. However, with just less than four minutes remaining Peter Clark sent Jordan Brown down the right and he outpaced his marker to cross to the far post for Lee Clarke to convert from close range. It was no less than St Neots deserved and with Histon losing at Poole the gap between Iain Parr’s side and the club immediately above the drop zone widened to six points.

 

St Neots:  Archer, Anton, Burton, Tann, Ward, Burns, Coulson, Clark (P), Clarke (L), Roberts, Dawkin

 

Subs:  Gordon (for Coulson 62), Brown (for Dawkin 74), Schiavi (for Roberts 84), Muya and Jeckells.

 

Cards:  Dawkin (Y – 43), Clarke (Y – 85)

 

Goals:  Clarke (86 mins)

 

 

 

Paulton:  John, Williams, Douglas, Grimshaw, Ford, Mateus, Jeanne, Mullings, Mawford, Ricketts, Felix

 

Subs:  Brown (for Douglas 65), Wheatley (for Mateus 69), Read, Chandler and Allward.

 

Cards:  Felix (Y – 90+3)

 

Goals:  none

 

Attendance: 260

 

Referee: Adrian Sannerude (Lowestoft)

 

 

 

John Walker