SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
Kidlington 1 St Neots Town 1
St Neots never settled to the conditions at Kidlington yet persevered well to return home with a share of the points. Long grass on a bumpy pitch was never going to suit the St Neots style pf play but they seemed either unable or unwilling to adapt. The home side still trying hard to amass enough points to stay ahead of the relegation play-off, will be pleased with one point given that rivals Kempston lost, so now need just a single point from their two remaining matches to guarantee Step Four football next season. The Kidlington long ball tactics with two players up front and the remainder behind the ball when St Neots were in possession worked well for them and they had two good spells at the start of each half that St Neots had to play through. With Myles Cowling injured, St Neots rested Sal Akanbi on the substitutes bench bringing in Joe Rider and Kwai Marsh-Brown in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
Kidlington began well and dominated the attacking play in the opening quarter of the match. They deservedly went ahead after twelve minutes when a cross from Connor Mattimore eluded the St Neots defence and Rhys Wells slotted past the visiting goalkeeper. St Neots first real attack came after seventeen minutes when home defender Liam Gilbert sliced a cross over his own crossbar and from the resultant corner, Joe Rider shot over the bar. Kwai Marsh-Brown was looking the most efficient attacker for the visiting side, and he cut in from the left past two only to see his shot deflected by a third defender. Louis Chadwick then saved well from an Ellis Hercules header from a corner and as Marsh-Brown continued to tease the home defence he was upended by Daniel Stokoe, earning the home defender a yellow card. However coming up to the break St Neots were looking to be the better side and they were rewarded a minute into added time with a cleverly crafted goal. Callum Anderson intercepted a misplaced pass and found Rob Mason with his back to goal, but his perfectly weighted return set up Anderson for his first goal of the season and the equaliser.
The first half pattern of play was replicated after the restart with Kidlington having several good chances in the first ten minutes. Striker Wells was in the thick of the action seeing a close-range effort blocked following a corner, then having Chadwick diving bravely at his feet to smother his finish, and finally fluffing his best chance with a weak shot after being played clear of the defence. St Neots sent on substitutes Sal Akanbi and Aaron Smith for Joe Rider and Kwai Marsh-Brown and reverted to a 4-4-2 formation and their performance improved. Glenn McConnell had a close-range shot smothered by home keeper Harry Way and the focus of play was now in the Kidlington half. In a breakaway attack Luke Stokoe shot over the bar but St Neots looked the more likely side to finish the match with a flourish. Tom Griffiths was then booked for illegally halting a St Neots attack and as the visitors continued to press forward as time ticked down McConnell shot wide after good play by Akanbi. Four minutes into added time McConnell though he had found a late winning goal, but a defender blocked his shot with the resultant corner cleared by the defence.
St Neots now wind up their programme with matches against the top two sides, Bedford Town (home) and Berkhamsted (away).
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Today’s travelling Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to HARVEY BECKETT
St Neots Town: Chadwick, Marfo, Beckett, Anderson, Johnson, Barker, McConnell, Watkins, Mason, Rider, Marsh Brown
Subs: Akanbi (for Marsh-Brown 59 mins), Smith (for Rider (59 mins), and Gill.
Cards: Barker (Y – 90+2 mins)
Goals: Anderson (45+ 1 min)
Kidlington: Way, Stokoe (D), Flanagan, Griffiths, Hercules, Gilbert, Mattimore, Stokoe (L), Wells, Gillett, Dennis
Subs: Cox (B) (for Gillett 32 mins), Cox (D) (for Dennis 78 mins), Reeve (for Mattimore 88 mins), and Peart.
Cards: Stokoe (D) (Y – 31 mins), Griffiths (Y – 88 mins)
Goals: Wells (12 mins)
Referee: Shaun Barry (Northampton)