Merthyr Town FC 1 : 1 St Neots Town FC
Match
44
Merthyr Town FC 1 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 09 April, 2016 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

 

MERTHYR TOWN   1   

ST NEOTS TOWN   1               

 

St Neots contrived to turn adversity into success as they returned from Wales with a vital point that ensures them of their Premier Division status next season. That is of course providing the most unlikely occurrence that Bideford manage to win their remaining four matches with a goal difference of plus 35 and that St Neots lose their two final matches.   The adversity came immediately before kick for with five minutes to go two key St Neots players, Drew Roberts and Brett Longden had not arrived at the ground having been held up for around two hours by an accident that had closed the M4. However, they made it onto the pitch without a warm up and within 20 minutes Longden celebrating his 50th start for St Neots by being the architect of the vital equalizing goal. 

Manager Andy Davies shuffled his squad handing Jordan Brown his third start and bringing in Dan Schiavi with Danny Burns and Josh Dawkin left on the bench. The result gave St Neots their FIFTH consecutive draw – a record not equaled since their return to senior football in 1995.

Parading the Red Insure Cup that they had won in midweek, Merthyr attracted a large crowd and they began well with a ninth minute attack that saw visiting skipper Adam Tann produce a last ditch clearance from an inswinging free kick by Jon Brown. The danger was not cleared and the ball ran loose to Ashley Evans whose shot through a crowd of players was blocked by a reflex save by Alex Archer. However, Merthyr were now dominating and four minutes later Kayne McLaggon cut out a thinly disguised midfield pass and advanced on goal with pace performing a clever step over to outwit a defender and send a low shot beyond the reach of Archer.  

Rhys Baggridge then headed over from a corner but after 20 minutes St Neots levelled as a looping cross from Brett Longden caused panic in the home defence with defender and goalkeeper uncertain who should clear and James Bloom tuned the ball into his own net for only St Neots second league own goal in their favour this season. Archer then produced an outstanding full length save to deny the lively McLaggon and the same played chipped over the bar from a corner whilst St Neots best attacks seemed to be halted by the offside flag.   On the stroke of half time home substitute Ian Traylor on for the limping Corey Jenkins stabbed the ball wide when scoring looked easier.

If Merthyr had the better of the first 45 minutes the second half was a totally different story.  St Neots with Lee Clarke prompting intelligently from midfield, began to create chances and Peter Clark was only just wide of goal from a Longden free kick.  Drew Roberts had a net bound shot blocked by Jarrad Wright and Jordan Brown sent a shot narrowly over the bar.  The introduction of substitute Josh Dawkin for Schiavi after 63 minutes saw St Neots consolidate although Merthyr looked dangerous on the break with McLaggon just failing to reach a cross in front of an empty net and Reffell bursting through to force the save of the match from Archer after 73 minutes before Traylor picked up the rebound to fire wide. St Neots though were holding their own and Remy Gordon beat his marker to pull the ball back into the path of Roberts who fierce shot was blocked with fifteen minutes remaining. St Neots then sent on two more substitutes clearly looking for a late winner but the only late chance fell to the home side when substitute Chris Hugh chased a long through ball but Archer was quickly off his line to smother at his feet.  

A well contested match ended in rather disappointing style when Referee Stephen Oakley who had controlled it well decided in added time to flash three yellow cards for offences that were not significant. 

 

St Neots:  Archer, Casey, Longden, Clarke (L), Ward, Tann, Brown (Jordan), Clark (P), Schiavi, Roberts, Gordon

Subs:  Dawkin (for Schiavi 63), Ofosu (for Brown 81), Coulson (for Clarke (L), Burns and Jeckells.

Cards:  Longden (Y – 90+1), Gordon (Y – 90+3)

Goals:  Bloom o.g. (20 mins)

Merthyr:  Garner, Tancock, Bloom, Evans, Wright, Baggridge, Prosser, Brown (Jon), McLaggon, Reffell, Jenkins

Subs:  Traylor (for Jenkins 34), Hugh (for Bloom 57), Bowen (for Prosser 57), Chappell and Clarke (C).

Goals:  Bloom o.g. (20 mins)

Cards:  Traylor (Y – 90+1)

 

Goals:  McLaggon (13 mins)

 

Attendance: 551

 

Referee: Stephen Oakley (Cheltenham)

 

 

 

John Walker