Stratford Town FC 1:1 St Neots Town FC
Stratford Town FC 1 : 1
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 19 August, 2017 15:00

Southern League Premier Division     

STRATFORD TOWN       1        ST NEOTS TOWN        1          

Back in the fold after a four years spell with Colchester United in the Skybet Football League, Dion Sembie-Ferris, a former product of the St Neots youth system, marked his Southern League debut with a goal at Stratford.   Sembie-Ferris was snapped up by Colchester after making just one senior team appearance for St Neots in the side that lifted the Hunts Senior Cup in the 2013 Final when they defeated Huntingdon Town at Yaxley in a penalty shoot out.   Signed just 48 hours before Saturday’s trip to Warwickshire he took just 21 minutes to announce his return in style.    The goal was a highlight for St Neots on a day when two average sides cancelled each other out.   St Neots will be the happier of the two sides because a point away from home is always useful but it was the fifth meeting of the two and St Neots are still to record a victory in the sequence.   Apart from Sembie-Ferris there were two other players making their seasons’ debut with Kyron Wiltshire starting in midfield following two substitute appearances, and in defence Liam McDevitt had shaken off his injury to come into the side.   The three displaced players, Tom Wood, Ryan Horne and Matt Foy were all on the substitutes bench.

The wind was always a feature of the match and it was in St Neots’ faces in the first half.   They began cautiously with home striker Edwin Ahenkorah a constant threat.   He provided the first goal after eight minutes when his cross was deflected to James Fry on the edge of the penalty area and his low shot beat visiting keeper Mike Emery, who seemed to be unsighted, with the aid of a wicked deflection.   St Neots retaliated with Scott Sinclair crossing from the right to find the head of Danny Watson whose effort beat home keeper Louis Connor but deflected from the cross bar.   Taylor Parr then shot wide from a Dylan Williams corner but the home side looked more pacey and inventive with Ben Stephens dispossessing Lee Clarke to set up Ahenkorah and it took an inspired save from Emery to prevent a second goal.   Then after 21 minutes Dion Sembie-Ferris drifted in from the left flank with pace to go past two defenders and calmly slot past Connor to level the scores.  After 29 minutes’ there could have been a spectacular Ahenkorah opportunistic goal for Stratford.   Spotting Emery off his line the striker sent a high lob from within his own half over the defence only to see the ball land on the cross bar!   Will Grocott saw a shot deflected but the half ended with two Williams corners offering chances for the visitors.   From the first McDevitt forced a finger-tip save from Connor and from the second Parr saw his headed effort deflect off the underside of the crossbar down onto the line to be scrambled clear.

St Neots seemed unable to use the conditions to their advantage after the break.   From an Ahenkorah cross a full-length header by Ben Stephens was blocked on the line and then in a rare St Neots attack a Williams free kick saw McDevitt head narrowly over the bar.   Both sides seemed to be searching for inspiration but none came as both introduced substitutes and the match became scrappy with no real rhythm from either side.   Emery twice saved with his feet from the lively Ahenkorah but the home keeper had little to do until the last five minutes.   Then Sinclair moved forward to set up Micky Hyem but his net bound effort was blocked and then substitute Matt Foy broke into the area to be sent tumbling but St Neots penalty appeals were waved away.   If this was a fairly solid defensive showing by St Neots it only underlined the lack of method and quality in their attacking play.   Now they must regroup to entertain the ambitious Hereford United in their Bank Holiday Saturday home match next weekend.



St Neots:  Emery, Sinclair, Bradshaw, Clarke, McDevitt, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Wiltshire, Watson, Hyem, Williams (D)

Subs:  Horne (for Clarke 63), Foy (for Williams 76), Wood and Bugg.

Cards:  none


Goals:  Sembie-Ferris (21 mins)


Stratford:  Connor, Summerfield, Thomas, Gallinagh, Clark, Francis, Stephens, Fry, Ahenkorah, Grocott, Luckie


Subs:  Taylor (for Luckie 67), Evans (for Grocott 83), Hancock and Marsden.


Cards:   Grocott (Y – 47 mins), Taylor (Y – 75)


Goals:   Fry (8 mins)


Attendance: 209

Referee:  Mark Howes (Solihull)



John Walker