Hereford FC 1:0 St Neots Town FC
Match
29
Hereford FC 1 : 0
St Neots Town FC
Tuesday 20 February, 2018 19:45

SOUTHERN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

Hereford United       1        St Neots Town      0

St Neots returned from their challenging and lengthy midweek trip to Hereford unbowed despite a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of the league leaders.   In front of a massive crowd of 2402 they produced a very creditable performance against the best side in the Division and were unlucky not to get a share of the spoils after matching Hereford in almost every department.   Hereford boast the best defensive record in the league and are the second highest scorers, but they were taken all the way by St Neots who gave a brave determined showing and were close to becoming only the third side to win at Edgar Street this season.   A fifth successive victory for the hosts has given them a four-point lead at the top with two matches in hand over the chasing pack, with St Neots remaining in eleventh place, eight points shy of the play-off places.   Skipper Luke Knight returned to the side after suspension in place of David Bridges who was unavailable, and Dion Sembie Ferris was preferred to Stefan Broccoli who was on the substitutes bench.

Hereford began very impressively forcing their visitors on the back foot from the first whistle.   In only their first attack Jack Bradshaw had to clear off the line from a corner and then Finlay Iron produced a good low save to deny Pablo Heysham.   St Neots did not let their opponents have it all their own way for after 15 minutes Kyron Wiltshire worked his way past two defenders to be brought down just out the area, but Bradshaw’s driven free kick was blocked by the defensive wall.  Four minutes later St Neots had a let off when a Rob Purdie corner was won in the air by Jimmy Oates, but his effort was deflected as a defender stuck out a leg.   Hesham was then wide with a header from another corner but St Neots always looked dangerous on the break and Lewis Irwin had a low shot deflected wide by Ryan Green.   A 28th minute four by Taylor Parr earned him a booking and Hereford a free kick in a dangerous area but Jamie Bird’s effort was wide of the post and there was plenty of goalmouth action in the final five minutes of the first half as from a Nabil Shariff cross, Irwin saw his shot cleared off the line by Dara O’Shea and then at the other end Iron produced a stunning double save to deny Bird and Heysham.

Hereford’s determined start to the second half brought them success.   After Purdie had headed a corner onto the roof of the net they scored the only goal of the game after 55 minutes.   Again, it came from one of the plethora of set-piece free kicks as another Purdie corner saw Dara O’Shea rise above the defence to power a header into the roof of the net despite the unlucky Iron getting his fingers to the ball.   That setback seemed to spur the visitors and in quick succession home custodian Martin Horsell saved well from Shariff and then the same St Neots player headed narrowly wide from a Bradshaw corner.    Iron then denied Heysham with an impressive save and then shepherded a Bird free kick around the far post.   In a bid to vary his options Matt Clements sent on Stefan Broccoli for the tiring Sembie-Ferris and he almost put Irwin clear of the defence, but a covering defender got back to rob him.  With around ten minutes left Iron produced the save if the match diving full length to push away a shot from Mike Symons.

Matt Clements declared himself ‘extremely proud’ of the work ethic and overall display of his side against ‘the best side we have played this season’.

 

 

St Neots:  Iron, Bradshaw, Herd, Knight, Wood, Parr, Sembie-Ferris, Wiltshire, Irwin, Shariff, Williams

Subs:  Broccoli (for Sembie-Ferris 73 mins), Buddle and Rudman.

Cards:  Parr (Y – 28 mins), Wiltshire (Y – 31 mins), Sembie-Ferris (Y – 47 mins), Knight (Y – 51 mins)

Goalsnone

 

Hereford:  Horsell, Oates, Pring, Richards, Green, O’Shea, Reffell, Bird, Haysham, Purdie, Symons

Subs:  Murphy (for Bird 71 mins), Bowen, Mills, Dearman and Puddy.

Cards:  Bird (Y – 67 mins), Reffell (Y – 76 mins)

Goals:  O’Shea (55 mins)

Referee:  Mark Howes (Solihull)

Attendance:  2402

 

 

John Walker