St Neots Town FC 0:4 Gosport Borough
St Neots Town FC 0 : 4
Gosport Borough
Saturday 28 April, 2018 15:00


St Neots Town     0        Gosport Borough       4

Gosport needed to win this match to retain their Step Three Status and they did it in some style, not as impressively as the score line suggests, but thanks in part to an official’s glaring error.  Leading 1-0 after 51 minutes they suddenly found themselves playing against ten men when St Neots 17 years old debutant goalkeeper George Bugg was sent off for bringing down Ryan Pennery, who despite being several yards offside was allowed to bear down on goal.    That meant that outfield player Jack Bradshaw had to take over in goal and from that point onwards the determined Hampshire visitors made their numerical advantage count.   So, the unlucky Bugg, called in at the last minute after the recall to Cambridge United of loanee Finlay Iron, will remember his debut after becoming only the third St Neots goalkeeper to be sent off in their seven seasons in the Southern League.    Manager Matt Clements had rung the changes in this final league match of the season with Wednesday’s Cup Final in mind, resting the experienced duo of Luke Knight and Taylor Parr and with Tom Wood unavailable into the side came Kyron Wiltshire, Jack Bradshaw and Scott Sinclair.

The match began with both sides playing positive football and play went end to end at a lightning pace.  Leading the St Neots attack Dion Sembie-Ferris twice beat defenders to cross but there was no finish and Edward Saunders diverted a shot from Jordan Norbert-Williams over his own bar.  Nabil Shariff also looked smart shooting just over the bar and then setting up acting skipper David Bridges whose shot was narrowly wide.   Bugg’s first real test came after 20 minutes when he pushed a rising Ben Wright free kick for a corner, but he was lucky when beaten by a looping shot from Ryan Penny that rebounded off the far post.   A Johnny Herd low shot was dropped by Patrick O’Flaherty but retrieved at the feet of Shariff and then Kyron Wiltshire had a close-range shot cleared off the line by James Harper.   So, after dominating much of the attacking play in the first half it was a shock to St Neots when the visitors went ahead against the run of play in time added at the end of the first half.  The St Neots defence dithered in clearing, and the ball ran to Ben Wright who lashed in a low shot through a crowd of players for the opening goal.

St Neots created the first second half chance, but Sembie-Ferris saw his shot deflected onto the roof of the net with O’Flaherty on the opposite side of his goal.   Then the sending-off really altered the pattern of the match.   Within three minutes of gaining the one-man advantage, Gosport doubled their lead as a half-hit shot by Patrick Suraci was deflected by a defender and the ball stopped invitingly for Edward Saunders to stab home.   St Neots sent on Taylor Parr sacrificing Dylan Williams to shore up their defence and St Neots broke away for Shariff to see his shot blocked on the goal line.   O’Flaherty then produced the save of the match from Sembie-Ferris after a delightful three-man move and Jordan Norbert-Williams then shot over the bar.  By now Gosport were making their one-man advantage tell in midfield and the extra possession was resulting in chances for the visitors.   Bradshaw did well to parry a rising shot from Ryan Case, but he then had to leave his line to clear after 65 minutes but only as far as substitute Luca Wrightman who netted with his first touch into the unguarded net.   After 76 minutes Gosport added a fourth goal when a shot was deflected to the feet of Joseph Lea who had the simplest of finishes from close range.  There was still time for O’Flaherty to mauintain a clean sheet with a great save from substitute Stefan Broccoli.




St Neots:  Bugg, Sinclair, Herd, Wiltshire, McDevitt, Bradshaw, Williams (D), Bridges, Sembie-Ferris, Shariff, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Parr (for Williams 54 mins), Butler (for Norville-Williams 65 mins), Broccoli (for Sinclair 65 mins)

Cards:  Bugg (RED – 51 mins), Parr (Y – 57 mins), Bridges (Y – 90+3 mins)

Goals:  none


Gosport:  O’Flaherty, Case, Medway, Harper, Saunders, Flooks, Suraci, Lea, Wright, Vine, Pennery

Subs:  Wrighton (for Vale 63 mins), McAlister (for Wright 65 mins), Olusanya (for Suraci 71 mins) Lanahan and Walters.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Wright (45+1 mins), Saunders (54 mins), Wrightman (65 mins), Lea (76 mins)

Referee:  Martin Gospel (Northampton)

Attendance:  280


John Walker