Merthyr Town FC 1:0 St Neots Town FC
Merthyr Town FC 1 : 0
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 17 March, 2018 15:00


Merthyr Town       1        St Neots Town      0

For the first time under the supervision of Manager Matt Clements, St Neots suffered a fourth consecutive League defeat – this time away on the 4G pitch at Merthyr.   The difficult lengthy journey and driving snow flurries and a biting east wind made conditions very unattractive but at no time did St Neots look like they were enjoying their Saturday afternoon task at a venue where they have never won.   In fact, their 5-2 home victory at the Premier Plus Stadium in December was the only time they had beaten the Welsh side in six meetings.   Too many players looked below their best on the day and even the return of Kyron Wiltshire after suspension failed to boost the confidence of the team.   David Bridges was unavailable to travel, and Liam McDevitt joined the depressingly lengthy injury list meaning that the starting line-up included Dan Buddle at full back for his Southern League debut, and Johnny Butler in midfield making his first League start since April last year whilst Johnny Herd was celebrating his 50th appearance for St Neots. To add to the disappointment of the occasion the hosts scored the only goal of the match after just 65 seconds of the start of the match with St Neots ‘caught cold’ and that was to prove a setback from which they were not to recover.

The hardy band of St Neots supporters had hardly had time to take their places on the terraces when their side were behind.   In their first attack Merthyr mounted a swift move on the right flank and Owain Jones crossed for Jarrad Wright to rise above his marker to head wide of Finlay Iron.   St Neots were stunned and offered little in reply as Jones again broke free and Iron had to save at his feet to prevent a second goal.   It was 12 minutes before St Neots managed a shot on target – this from a lengthy Johnny Herd throw that found the head of Taylor Parr but home keeper Ed Hewitson saved comfortably.   Dan Buddle then fed Dion Sembie-Ferris with a reverse pass and the 16 years old home keeper saved well but the main direction of play was towards the St Neots goal with far too many St Neots forward passes either misplaced or over-ambitious.   Only the promptings of Dylan Williams and the returning Kyron Wiltshire looked like seriously threatening the home defence whilst at the other end Iron had to save from Ian Traylor and Ryan Prosser.   In a rare St Neots attack Tom Wood headed over the bar from a Williams corner and as half time approached Kerry Morgan went past two St Neots defenders but could only fire high over the bar.

The visiting side needed to vary their approach after the break but with only Scott Sinclair recovering from a six matches injury lay off on the bench, the Manager had no real options.   Again, St Neots susceptibility to starting slowly after a kick off surfaced as Merthyr created two further chances in the space of sixty seconds as a crisp Morgan shot was pushed for a corner at full stretch by Iron and from the resultant corner, a snap shot by Traylor rebounded from the crossbar.  St Neots did then threaten as Sembie-Ferris went past his marker to go clear but a last ditch saving tackle by Wright saved the day for the home side.   Just past the hour Nabil Shariff headed wide from a Williams’ cross and from another lengthy Herd throw, a Parr shot was scrambled for a corner.   With fifteen minutes remaining Traylor was left unmarked to collect an Adam Davies cross but he failed to clinch the result with a poor header wide of goal and then substitute Jaye Bowen saw his shot rebound from the foot of a goalpost.   St Neots had two late openings to snatch a point, but Sembie-Ferris volleyed over the bar and substitute Scott Sinclair just failed to reach a Johnny Herd cross in front of an open net.   A late one-handed save by Iron to deny Jones kept the score line to a respectable level.

St Neots:  Iron, Buddle, Herd, Knight, Wood, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Butler, Shariff, Wiltshire, Williams (D)

Subs:  Sinclair (for Butler 73 mins)

Cards:  none


Merthyr:  Hewitson, Davies, Tancock, Evans, Patten, Harris, Morgan, Wright, Prosser, Jones, Traylor

Subs:  Jenkins (for Jones 46 mins), Bowen (for Morgan 64 mins), Reddy (for Jones 90 mins), John & Price.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Wright (1 min)

Referee:  Craig Scriven (Cheddar)

Attendance:  316



John Walker