St Neots Town FC 5:2 Merthyr Town FC
St Neots Town FC 5 : 2
Merthyr Town FC
Saturday 09 December, 2017 15:00


Southern League Premier Division    


ST NEOTS TOWN        5      MERTHYR TOWN       2         


In the end St Neots cruised to a predictable victory against a youthful visiting Merthyr side – but not until they had withstood a couple of nasty shocks.   The visitors led twice in the first half and the main after-match post mortem in the St Neots dressing room will have been more about shoddy first half defending rather than the very useful three points gained.   The home side was more than usefully assisted by a foolish sending off after just 28 minutes when Gavin Williams collected a second yellow card for dramatic simulation after he had lost control of the ball.   Condemned to play for the final hour of the match a man short the Welsh visitors did well to restrict the defeat to a reasonable proportion, but St Neots Manager Matt Clements will be disappointed that his side did not push home their numerical and territorial advantage with more goals in the second half.   Home keeper Mike Emery was almost unemployed for the whole of that second period with the visitors operating a damage limitation exercise and the match rather petered out once St Neots had scored their fifth goal.  The starting line-up was unchanged from that which had started the match the previous Saturday with Tom Wood, Harry O’Malley and Ryan Horne all starting on the bench after midweek appearances as other players returned from injury.


St Neots looked comfortable enough in the early exchanges with Nabil Shariff volleying over the bar from a Johnny Herd cross but he did then get the ball in the net, set up by Lewis Irwin only to be denied by an offside flag.  After 10 minutes the home supporters were silenced as Merthyr took the lead.  An attack down the right won them a corner and Ian Traylor’s inswinging corner was met deftly at the near post by the head of Kerry Morgan whose flick bamboozled the St Neots defence.  Three minutes later it was parity as a delightful through ball from David Bridges released Lewis Irwin who low shot across goal beat Cameron Clarke.   St Neots had learned nothing from their early setback and after 24 minutes some more sloppy defending saw defender Matt Harris given too much space at the back post from a Gavin Williams free kick and his header looped over Mike Emery to put the visitors ahead for a second time.   Williams was then dismissed and as Merthyr tried to reorganize they conceded a second goal as Johnny Herd crossed deep to the far post when Dion Sembie-Ferris netted from close range.   Then within sixty seconds St Neots went ahead as a Sembie-Ferris cross was only cleared as far as Luke Knight and he lashed the ball home to give St Neots a 3-2 advantage.  The remainder of the first half saw no more goals but Kyron Wiltshire shot wide of an open goal with the visiting keeper stranded twenty yards upfield and there were further misses with off-target shooting from Jack Bradshaw, Herd and Knight.


It was an eight minutes spell shortly after the restart that settled a predictable outcome to the match.   After Sembie-Ferris had ballooned a shot over the bar, he made amends by setting up Luke Knight who scored his sides’ fourth goal with a low shot from the edge of the area.  Before Merthyr had recovered from that shock St Neots struck again as Irwin collected his second goal of the match from a measured Knight cross.   The flood gates could have opened then, but Clarke dived bravely at the feet of Nabil Shariff after he had danced past his marker and Sembie-Ferris fired disappointingly wide after good work by Bridges.   In an attempt to maintain the momentum St Neots introduced all three permitted substitutes but Merthyr were now entrenched as a defensive unit soaking up the pressure and Horne fired over when he should have scored, and Clarke denied Bridges with a parried save to a blockbusting shot.   Late on Shariff had an acrobatic overhead attempt cleared off the line by Adam Davies but the three points lifted St Neots back to ninth in the table.


St Neots:  Emery, Bradshaw, Herd, Knight, McDevitt, Parr, Wiltshire, Bridges, Irwin, Shariff, Sembie-Ferris,  


Subs:  Horne (for Wiltshire 63 mins), O’Malley (for Bradshaw 68 mins), Wood (for Knight 77 mins), Butler and Marsh-Brown


Cards:  none




Goals:  Irwin (2) (13 & 57 mins), Knight (2) (31 & 49 mins), Sembie-Ferris (30 mins)




Merthyr:  Clarke, Davies, Hanford, Jarvis, Harris, Martin, Dima, Reddy, Williams, Morgan, Traylor




Subs:  Jones (for Jarvis 77 mins)




Cards:   Williams (RED – 2 x Y – 16 & 28 mins)




Goals:   Morgan (10 mins), Harris (24 mins)


Attendance: 237


Referee:  Peter Howard (Paddington)




John Walker