Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division
RAMSEY TOWN 2 ST NEOTS TOWN 3
This was a hard fought but well deserved victory for St Neots that lifted them up to third place in the league table. However they never seemed able to come to terms with the conditions on the night – a very uneven severely sloping pitch and played for much of the time in the driving rain. Their usual crisp passing game was almost impossible and they came up against a fresh to the league Ramsey side full of hard work and determination that were well able to keep the visiting defence at full stretch. Regardless they persevered and a second half change of tactics proved crucial in obtaining all three points.
The start was end to end with neither side looking dominant. An early cross from Jamie Massey was pushed over the bar by home keeper Jake Galloway who also saved a shot from Kaine Felix but at the other end Dan Short shot wide when well placed. Ramsey then had a good spell as Jack Goodall rounded Kieron Gibbons after 15 minutes but found his shooting angle too tight but within a minute the home side were ahead as Kyle Ferrier produced a stunning shot on the turn to leave Gibbons rooted to his line. When St Neots levelled six minutes later it was against the run of play as from a Sean Barker corner defender Ashley Farouqui produced a fine volley that flew into the net. At the other end Gibbons spilled a corner from the left presenting Luke Jenkins with an opportunity to extend the lead but he shot wide. Towards the end of the half St Neots regained their poise and Rukky robbed a defender and brought a fine save from Galloway.
The half time break appeared to rejuvenate St Neots who came out to dominate the second half for long periods. The key was their ability to keep the ball and slow down the swift direct attacking moves employed by the home side. From a Massey free kick Junior Moya won the ball at the near post but fired over the bar and then Rukky showed fine pace to win a through ball to net but saw his effort ruled out by an offside flag. Galloway then produced a fine save to deny Ryan Sharman whose freedom midfield role was the key to St Neots resurgence but the turning point of the match came midway through the second half when Manager Steve Pickering ordered a change in tactics pushing Kaine Felix up alongside Rukky in a 4-4-2 formation. The benefit came quickly with Jordan Cafferkey clearing a Felix effort off the line and then after 76 minutes from a Rukky cross Harry Jenkins gave St Neots the lead. Twice in quick succession Kaine Felix worked his was clear to shoot narrowly over the bar and nine minutes from time his persistence was rewarded as he drifted past his marker to score from a narrow angle to give St Neots a 3-1 lead. Three minutes into added time Jack Goodall took advantage of a defensive slip to score a late consolation goal for the home side but that only served to make St Neots victory look less convincing than it was.
St Neots: Gibbons, Massey, Farouqui, Jenkins, Moya, Belgrove, Felix, Tamakloe, Diejomadh (Rooky), Sharman, Barker.
Subs used: Flynn & Millwood.
not used: Banthorpe