St Neots Town FC 1:0 Tiverton Town FC
Match
29
St Neots Town FC 1 : 0
Tiverton Town FC
Saturday 17 February, 2018 15:00

SOUTHERN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town      1      Tiverton Town      0    

St Neots overhauled their tally of league points from last season with this narrow victory over visiting Tiverton to complete their first league ‘double’ of the season.   The margin of victory could and should have been greater but two disallowed first half goals gave the visitors a slim hope of a comeback right up until the final whistle.   It was only St Neots’ fourth clean sheet in the league this season with the last one being three months ago on 14th November.   However, St Neots keeper Finlay Iron did not have a direct shot to save throughout this match, so the victory was thoroughly deserved.    St Neots fourth league victory in five matches represents their best run this season ahead of a Tuesday evening trip to new league leaders Hereford.   With Luke Knight and Liam McDevitt suspended, Scott Sinclair injured and Harry O’Malley unwell, St Neots selection options were very limited, but they recalled Lewis Irwin, Stefan Broccoli and David Bridges with Dion Sembie-Ferris the only senior player on the substitutes bench.   Now with four defeats in their last six matches Tiverton’s hopes of a play-off place in their first season back at Step Three look to be fading, now five points shy of fifth place.

After a couple of good moves in the opening ten minutes little was seen of the visiting attack and St Neots settled to enjoy most of the first half possession.   Dylan Williams cut in to fire narrowly over the bar and then burst into the area to shoot narrowly wide of the far post with visiting keeper Alexis Andre well beaten.   As the pressure mounted Jack Bradshaw and acting skipper David Bridges had shots saved but after 26 minutes St Neots took the lead.   The goal came from a perfectly delivered corner to the far post when Tom Wood, recalled in defence to replace the suspended Liam McDevitt, stole in to fire into the net.   After 37 minutes St Neots thought they had doubled their lead when from a deep Williams cross Nabil Shariff headed into the net, but the Referee had spotted a push and the effort was ruled out.  If that was a disappointment worse was to follow two minutes before the break, when an early cross from Stefan Broccoli found Lewis Irwin a yard beyond the final defender and his crisp finish beat the diving Andre, only for an Assistant Referee’s flag to chalk out another ‘goal’.   A two or three goal half time cushion would have adequately summed up the first 45 minutes but that was no to be.

Tiverton came out with a more positive approach to the game after the interval.   In the first five minutes both Landricombe brothers were allowed space in the penalty area but Michael shot badly wide and a spectacular overhead volley by leading scorer Levi, passed just beyond the far post.   However, Andre was still the busier of the goalkeepers rising above a packed defence to punch clear from a Herd free kick, and then in action again to save at the feet of Shariff.   The visitors then sent on two substitutes and adopted a more attacking formation, but they never managed to win enough possession to seriously test the home defence.   Another Shariff effort was well saved and both Broccoli and Irwin had shots blocked as defenders threw themselves at the ball.   In the last ten minutes the game descended into a very scrappy affair with the Referee booking five players for minor offences.   More substitutions followed but in that final period neither side managed to get a serious shot at goal with St Neots looking happy to preserve their narrow advantage.    A late booking for man of the match Kyron Wiltshire now means he will miss two of St Neots upcoming matches.

 

 

St Neots:  Iron, Bradshaw, Herd, Wiltshire, Wood, Parr, Broccoli, Bridges, Irwin, Shariff, Williams

Subs:  Buddle (for Williams 87 mins)

Cards:  Bradshaw (Y – 79 mins), Irwin (Y – 86 mins), Wiltshire (Y – 90+2 mins), Broccoli (Y – 90+3 mins)

GoalsWood (26 mins)

 

Tiverton:  Andre, Rogers (S), Hall, Price, Mammola, Gardner, Short, Rigg, Lewington, Landricombe (L), Landricombe (M)

Subs:  Rogers (J) (for Rogers (S) 69 mins), Bath (for Price 69 mins), Irish (for Hall 89 mins)

Cards:  Landricombe (L) (Y – 20 mins), Short (Y – 80 mins)

Goals:  none

Referee:  Tom Hancock (Isleham)

Attendance:  284

 

 

John Walker