St Neots Town FC 3:1 Redditch United
Match
19
St Neots Town FC 3 : 1
Redditch United
Saturday 08 December, 2018 15:00

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

 

St Neots Town     3       Redditch United       1         

 

St Neots clambered out of the relegation zone with their first home league victory since 14th August thanks to a double strike from Nabil Shariff and a smart header from Dylan Williams.   In difficult windy conditions both sides struggled to produce their best football, but in the end, justice was done because of St Neots grit and determination, the Saints moved up to 18th position.      

Less than two months ago Redditch were bottom but one in the league table, with two wins and eight defeats in their first ten matches, but they have turned things around in spectacular style with just one league defeat in their last six league outings and they had climbed five places to 16th and were no doubt looking to maintain that improvement in this match. However, St Neots know that it is no use playing well and losing and there were signs that the recently signed players are bedding in.   The latest addition to the squad is Jordan Norville-Williams, on loan from Cambridge United and he was making his second debut for the club have played eight games last season in a brief stay.   There were recalls for Taylor Parr and Russell Short who had completed their one-match bans and making way for this trio were Gary Wharton and Lee Watkins (both on the bench) and Dan Olaniran.

 

Conditions were far from ideal with the swirling wind on a wet surface making control difficult and neither side seemed to hit a rhythm in the early stages. St Neots received an early shock when, in their first notable attack, Redditch took the lead as Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham drifted down the left to cross to the far post where Richard Batchelor arrived late and unmarked to slide the ball past Finley Iron.   St Neots set about repairing the damage and a long thrown from Johnny Herd was flicked on by Taylor Parr and the ball ran across the area to deflect off the far post after a quarter of an hour. However, after 32 minutes the host side levelled, when a solo effort by Nabil Shariff saw his low shot across Daniel Crane find the corner of the net. Luke Knight shot over the bar and before the break, St Neots seemed to be getting on top with little seen of the Redditch attack, however, just before the break St Neots, were lucky to stay on terms when Matt Miles upended Mitchell Piggon on the edge of the area, but Robbie Burn’s free kick was pushed for a corner by Finley Iron.   Miles then limped off injured to be replaced by Devante Stanley who had missed the previous two matches through injury.

 

The second half followed a different pattern with St Neots well on top, dictating play from midfield where Tom Wood and Luke Knight were dominant.   Dylan Williams had an early effort blocked by Andrew Parsons and the match became feisty with three players booked in a five minutes spell.   St Neots’ pressure than paid off after 59 minutes when a long throw by Herd was flicked on at the near post and last season’s leading scorer Dylan Williams netted his fourth goal of the campaign with a neat header. Once in front, St Neots looked comfortable and they could have extended their lead as Knight had a shot blocked and Shariff brought a fine full length save from Crane. Norville-Williams also went close after good work by Tom Wood, seeing his shot deflected the wrong side of a goalpost. The result was made safe seven minutes from time when Nabil Shariff completed his third double haul of league goals this season finishing off searching free kick by Herd. In those last seven minutes plus added time, Redditch threw caution to the wind and went all out to try to salvage something from the match. There were waves of attacks towards the St Neots end, but Iron was never seriously stretched whilst at the other end, on the break, Shariff had two chances to complete a hat trick, but his first effort brought the save of the match from Crane, and his second was blocked by a defender.

 

 

St Neots Town:  Iron, Miles, Herd, Knight, Short, Parr, Borg, Wood, Shariff, Williams, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Stanley (for Miles 45+1 mins), Watkins (for Norville-Williams 79 mins), Wharton (for Borg (90+2 mins) and Gomes.

Cards:  Miles (Y – 42 mins), Knight (Y – 59 mins), Borg (Y – 83 mins), Short (Y – 87 mins)

Goals:  Shariff 2 (32 & 83 mins), Williams (59 mins)

 

Redditch:  Francis, Sinclair, Mills, Franklin, Parsons, Evans, Leachman-Whittingham, Bunn, Piggon, Reynolds, Batchelor

Subs:  Howards (for Reynolds 62 mins), Loveridge (for Bunn 62 mins), Nelson (for Leachman-Whittingham 74 mins, Tye and Butterfield.

Cards:  Sinclair (Y – 34 mins), Leachman-Whittingham (Y – 57 mins)

Goals:  Batchelor (7 mins)

 

Referee:  Stephen Bates (St Albans)

Attendance:  179

 

John Walker

 

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