|Cambridge City||3 : 0||
St Neots Town FC
|Saturday 22 April, 2017 15:00|
Southern League Premier Division
CAMBRIDGE CITY 3 ST NEOTS TOWN 0
It was perhaps fortunate that the outcome of this final match in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division match wasn’t to determine the future of St Neots at Step Three as it did their hosts. As a result of the heroics of the six-point Easter weekend when St Neots secured their survival they had three key players pick up injuries that confined them to the bench for this significant deciding match. Skipper Micky Hyem, leading scorer Jevani Brown and Lee Clarke were all sidelined although the latter made a brief substitute appearance. Into their place, Manager Matt Clements drafted in striker James Tricks and two inexperienced youngsters Erhan Nurettin and Saul Williams, each for their first senior start and both did well but the overall level of experience in the side showed to St Neots’ detriment. Unlucky Cambridge did all they could have done to further their cause staying undefeated in their six final matches and deservedly winning this contest by three goals to nil but elsewhere three points for Kings Langley and one for Dorchester kept those two sides safely above the drop zone. So, St Neots survive at this level, despite having the second worst defensive record in the Division, and picking up the same number of points (48) as last season.
St Neots lined up with three at the back as they had in recent games but they came up against early pressure when after six minutes Lee Stevenson intelligently saw St Neots slow to group to defend a free kick and he quickly released Norman Wabo to open the scoring from a narrow angle. St Neots tried hard to get back into the game but despite enjoying the better possession their finishing was inconclusive. A close-range effort by Lewis Wilson was deflected over the crossbar and winning five corners in the first twenty minutes they were unable to capitalize with the best effort a Jonny Butler header that flew harmlessly wide. Erhan Nurettin picked out Taylor Parr with a free kick but he failed to test home keeper Dean Snedker and then Saul Williams fired over the bar. The half ended with James Tricks also wide of the target after more impressive play by Nurettin.
Although Cambridge had been unimpressive in the first half never looking like increasing their advantage they looked a different side after the break. Full back Ben Robinson up in support of his attack looked to have doubled the lead with a shot that beat Alex Archer but Taylor Parr got back to clear off the line and then from a Lee Stevenson corner, former St Neots defender Jordan Gent was left unmarked at the far post but he headed wide. Now Cambridge was dominating and Salim Relizani sent in a dangerous low shot that was deflected for a corner. Then on the hour from another Stevenson cross Jordan Gent was again left with too much room at the far post and this time his finish was accurate to make it 2-0. St Neots attacking was sporadic and not very convincing although Jonny Herd saw a net bound shot blocked but after 74 minutes the outcome was effectively decided as some very slack defending let in Norman Wabo for his second goal of the match. Substitutions followed and Cambridge clearly settled for what they had achieved and the match might have fizzled out but for a late controversial incident. With his back to goal Dan Walker went down under a challenge from Parr and having awarded a soft free kick the Referee changed his mind and dramatically pointed to the penalty spot to St Neots’ disbelief. Wabo was given the chance to complete his first City hat trick but Archer parried his kick and also the follow up attempt. Then came the news that City’s victory was insufficient to save them from relegation. St Neots wind up their season on Wednesday evening in the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup Final against UCL neighbors Eynesbury Rovers at the Premier Plus Stadium (kick off 1945 hrs)
St Neots: Archer, Norman, Herd, Butler, Wood, Parr, Nurettin, Bell-Toxtle, Wilson, Tricks, Williams (S)
Subs: Clarke (for Williams 74 mins), Hyem, Brown Partridge and Dean.
Cambridge: Snedker, Robinson, Cooper, Paterson, Gent, Williams (J), Snaith, Stevenson,Walker, Wabo, Relizani
Subs: Foy (for Snaith 74 mins), Sharman (for Paterson 82 mins), Foxley (for Wabo 87 mins), Osei and Norman.
Cards: Robinson (Y – 47)
Goals: Wabo 2 (6 & 74 mins), Gent (60 mins)
Referee: Dean Appleby (Bourne)