Banbury United 2 : 1 St Neots Town FC
Match
32
Banbury United 2 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 21 January, 2017 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

BANBURY UNITED       2          ST NEOTS TOWN      1        

Manager Matt Clements has now seen the good, the bad and the ugly of his new side in his three matches in charge.   The good was the home League victory over Dorchester, the bad was the way his side failed to cope with lower graded Godmanchester in their narrow Cup victory in midweek, and the ugly came at Banbury where after taking the lead against the run of play they conceded two ugly goals to return home pointless.   Overall it was not a bad performance – much better than the last month when they were conceding four and five goals in a match but the defence must cut out their mistakes as they search for their first clean sheet in a league match since last August.   There were two new faces in the starting eleven with Jonny Herd coming in at full back for Harry Norman and Jonny Butler making his debut in place of another recent signing Jacob Partridge who was ill.   With James Hall leaving the club Peter Clark was restored to the side in an unfamiliar role behind the striker where he never looked happy.   Banbury, now fifth in the table after their promotion this season back from the South and West Division, look a competent outfit but they were made to hang on to their narrow lead in the later stages of the match as St Neots threw everything forward in a bid to claim a reward they probably deserved.   The fixture list now becomes difficult as St Neots face three sides in the top eight in their upcoming fixtures.

The start was fairly even and it was thirteen minutes before either side managed a direct shot on goal.   Then from distance Mark Bell hit a shot that bobbled in front of Alex Archer who was relieved to beat the ball away from his net.   The rebound fell to Marvin Martin whose effort was deflected leaving St Neots time to regroup.  A feature of the first half was an added attacking dimension for St Neots as former Southend United defender Jonny Herd displayed his ability with low throws to the far post keeping the home defence at full aerial stretch and from one of these after 21 minutes the ball was knocked down to the feet of Jevani Brown who put St Neots in front with a crisp shot.  That seemed to inspire his side who set up a series of attacks with Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson forcing a save from home keeper Jack Harding.  At the other end striker Conor McDonagh was causing the St Neots defence problems as he looped the ball over the advancing Archer but Tom Wood got back to clear and then he shot across the face of goal after good play by Bell.  Six minutes before the break Butler fed Micky Hyem but his shot was blocked and three minutes later Banbury drew level as the best move of the half involving George Nash, Martin and James Smith carved open the St Neots defence and Conor McDonagh finished it off with a low shot under the diving body of Archer.

The second half started with a Banbury substitution as Zac McEachran replaced Bell to give them a more attacking shape.   Within three minutes they had snatched the lead as their loanee from West Bromwich, James Smith, cleverly outwitted his marker on the bye line to cross to the far post where Conor McDonagh was incredibly unmarked and allowed to roll the ball into the net from three yards.   St Neots looked embarrassed by this and hit back quickly with Peter Clark seeing his shot blocked and a second effort sail over the bar.   There was a battle royal going on between Banbury defender Luke Carnell and Fortnam-Tomlinson and when the St Neots striker was brought down on the edge of the area the visitors appealed for a penalty but Referee Sarah Garrett perfectly placed waved play on.  On the break the home side looked dangerous and McDonagh brought a fine save from Archer but shortly afterwards Carnell and Fortnam-Tomlinson were both yellow carded as they tussled in the area.  St Neots played their joker sending on Lee Clarke for his first appearance since 26th April and he was closest to saving a point when his effort from a Declan Rogers corner was blocked on the goal line.

 

 

St Neots:  Archer, Day, Herd, Butler, Wood, Parr, Brown, Hyem, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Clark, Rogers                                                                                                                                  Subs:   Clarke (for Clark 80 mins), Norman, Piesse and L’Ghoul.                                  Cards:  Fortnam-Tomlinson (Y – 77)

Goals:  Brown (21 mins)

 

Banbury:  Harding, Westbrook, Gunn, Nash Carnell,Odhiambo, White, Bell, McDonagh, Smith, Martin

Subs:  McEachran (for Bell 46 mins), Self (for Odhiambo 65 mins), Ofosu (for Smith 66 mins), Blackstock and Humphreys.

Cards:  Carnell (Y – 77), McDonagh (Y – 89)

 

Goals: McDonagh 2 (41 and 48 mins)

Attendance: 429

Referee: Sarah Garrett (Halesowen)

 

 

John Walker