Kettering Town 1 : 1 St Neots Town FC
Kettering Town 1 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 19 March, 2016 15:00


Southern League Premier Division


KETTERING TOWN        1        ST NEOTS TOWN      1       


St Neots returned home from Kettering with a valuable hard earned point at the expense of their play-off hopeful hosts. On a very difficult surface that stifled precise passing St Neots actually led for two minutes just after half time and then rode out a storm in the final ten minutes to deservedly cling onto a point that lifted them eight points clear of the relegation zone. Their injury jinx continued with midfielder Josh Dawkin ruled out for about a month with an ankle injury sustained at Frome but Drew Roberts returned after missing the midweek trip and his eye for goal proved invaluable to his side. Also injured but unused on the bench Peter Clark was an absentee and that meant starting berths in midfield for Charlie Coulson and Dan Schiavi.  


Kettering had won the first Premier Division meeting of the two sides at the Premier Plus Stadium earlier in the season and with games in hand of the clubs ahead of them are looking to win their berth back at Step Two via the play-offs at the end of the season but with Tom Ward and Danny Burns supreme at the heart of the St Neots defence they will consider this result the loss of two valuable points.  


St Neots looked much the brighter side at the start with Adam Tann winning a Remy Gordon cross but being unable to get enough power in his shot to test home keeper Craig Hill and then a Dan Schiavi shot from outside the penalty area thudded into the keeper’s chest.   St Neots had lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Drew Roberts as the lone striker and it served them well in terms of possession and robbing the home side of midfield superiority. Gordon, beginning to look more comfortable after his lengthy injury lay off sprinted clear of the defence and his cross beat the keeper to be cleared off the line by Brett Solkhon. After 17 minutes, before Kettering had mounted a significant attack, they lost skipper Solkhon to injury but they began to compete and left sided attacking player Will Grocott was proving a problem to the visiting defence turning his marker but seeing his shot blocked after Alex Archer had punched away his cross.  


Making his first appearance in central midfield for the visitors, the industrious Charlie Coulson was looking sharp and he collected a Gordon cross but shot over the bar. Perry Cotton then set up striker Rene Howe and he made space for himself before seeing his shot deflected for a corner and the first half ended with the sides looking more evenly matched than they had in the opening twenty minutes.


There was an explosive start to the second half with the only two goals in the match coming in the first three minutes. St Neots struck first after 45 seconds as Charlie Coulson threaded a perfectly weighted pass between the two Kettering central defenders and timing his run to perfection Drew Roberts sprinted clear to beat the advancing Hill with a low shot. However, St Neots’ joy was short-lived for two minutes later a Kettering attack broke down for the ball to run loose to Will Grocott who produced a dipping volley to give Alex Archer no chance.


That might have prompted more goalmouth action but each defence seemed to tighten up and for fifteen minutes there was little goalmouth action. Then Roberts burst through again and Hill had to race from his area to clear but the ball fell nicely to Coulson who seemed to have an open goal at his mercy but from 45 yards he chipped the ball wide. As the second half progressed Kettering seemed to get stronger and Wilson Carvalho shot wide and Grocott had a shot well blocked by Ward. St Neots sent on Jordan Brown for Schiavi and he was quickly in the action finding Roberts who had his angled shot pushed away at full stretch by Hill. Kettering substitute David Poppa, on loan from Birmingham City, also made a quick impact bringing a one handed save from Archer as he tried to lob the keeper and Brown had St Neots’ final chance sending a shot from outside the area just inches over the bar following a corner. Kettering attempted a grandstand finish but excellent defending by Archer and Ward kept out two late efforts and the point was preserved.






St Neots:  Archer, Anton, Longden, Tann, Ward, Burns, Schiavi, Coulson, Clarke (L), Roberts, Gordon


Subs:  Brown (for Schiavi 58), Mazeo-Kelly, Hobbs, Clark (P), and Burton.


Cards:  none


Goals:  Roberts (46 mins)




Kettering:  Hill, Cotton, Brighton, Solkhon, Mulligan, Pepe-Ngoma, Carvalho, Canavan, Howe, Weir-Daley, Grocott


Subs:  Langdon (for Solkhon 17), Poppa (for Weir-Daley 68), Obeng (for Pepe-Ngoma 82), Danquah and Stephens.


Cards:  none


Goals:  Grocott (48 mins)




Attendance: 561


Referee: Mark Howes (Solihull)




John Walker