St Neots recorded their first ever league victory over their Hertfordshire hosts by four goals to one with a commanding performance to lift them to the fringe of the play off places. The last time the two sides had met, St Neots squandered a two goal lead to collapse to an odd goal in five defeat, but this time there was never any fear of a repeat as St Neots dominated almost throughout. Aaron Smith missed the game through injury and Charley Barker was not fully fit and started on the bench, so Erin Amu made his second start of the campaign, whilst the latest teenage Cambridge United loanee Mamadou Jobe made his debut in defence. There was also a welcome first appearance of the season for Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite who came on as a late substitute. Joe Rider’s double took his personal goals tally this season to seven in four starts whilst Myles Cowling was also on the scoresheet again.
St Neots assumed control from the start. In their first attack Erin Amu shot just wide and after 12 minutes they deservedly took the lead as Joe Rider pulled the ball back from the bye line for Myles Cowling to rap home. Cowling was terrorising the home defence and he was scythed down by David Keenleyside to earn the home skipper a deserved booking. Wynford Marfo then beat three players in a mazy run forward after 25 minutes, but his finish was too high and in the next move a home defender cleared off the line from an Amu finish to a Callum Anderson corner. Little was seen of the home attack with Louis Chadwick not tested at all in the first half and St Neots might have made more of their superior possession, but home keeper Charlie Crowley produced a couple of good saves. Then after 35 minutes a bizarre incident saw St Neots given a controversial dropped ball advantage on the edge of the Welwyn penalty area after a midfield head injury has stopped play, and St Neots took full advantage as Joe Rider knocked in a Cowling cross to extend the lead. Welwyn almost produced an instant reply, three minutes later when Benjamin Spaul played Jordan Watson clear of the visiting defence but covering defender Ben Heal got back to block his finish at the expense of a corner.
St Neots knew a positive start to the second half would further increase their domination and after Cowling had fired narrowly wide from distance a third St Neots goal really confirmed them in control. It came after 56 minutes when a home defender dithered as the home side tried to play their way out of defence, and Nehemiah Richard-Noel stole the ball to beat Crowley with a firm curling shot. Six minutes later the game was over as a serious contest when Joe Rider went clear of a square lying defence and finished with a flourish to make the score 4-0. At that point St Neots looked to become a little careless as Welwyn were clearly stung by their seemingly hopeless position and in the last 15 minutes Welwyn enjoyed their best period of the match. After Crowley had made a good save from Amu, Welwyn earned some consolation for their determined efforts when Jordan Kinoshi pounced on a poor defensive clearance to claim their consolation goal when his shot took a wicked deflection and left Chadwick flat-footed, but the match was far from over as Cowling sent a free kick over the bar and Rider was denied a hat trick after he sidestepped two defenders, but Crowley saved well. Five minutes from time debutant Jobe marked his first display with a fine goal line clearance after a sloppy defensive clearance.
St Neots now have two rearranged games, away at League leaders North Leigh next Saturday and a home game versus Ware FC on Tuesday 21st September, prior to their return to Bedford Town in the FA Trophy on 25th September.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to Callum Anderson (Sponsored by Mark Cowling – Zack FM)
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