St Neots rounded off a very successful Bank Holiday 72 hours’ period completing their first away win of the season finishing with seven goals and six valuable league points. Star of the show was striker Joe Rider who recorded his first hat trick in a St Neots shirt since 20t January 2019 when he scored three goals in a 4-1 Hunts Youth Cup victory at Yaxley. It was the first away hat trick by a St Neots player since Tom Meechan performed that feat at Bideford on 8th August 2015. For the trip to Kempston, manager Pete Gill named an unchanged starting line-up for the first time this season and his only concern will have been injuries picked up by Charley Barker, Ben Heal and Neo Richard-Noel all of whom had to be substituted as a result. However, with no match this coming weekend, the injured players now have twelve days to recover prior to the trip to Welwyn Garden City on 11th September. Now up to seventh in the table with a healthy goal difference in their favor, St Neots will go into their next six scheduled matches – four of which are away from home, with their confidence high.
It was a rather strange first half, St Neots having much the larger share of play but mainly on the break, Kempston created two or three decent openings that could have seen St Neots having to come back from behind. However, as the half wore on the visitors created their own chances and only some inspired goalkeeping by home custodian Carl Knox ensured parity for his side at half time. St Neots early pressure promised much but delivered little before Miguel De Matos breaking down the flank set up Emmanual Dahio but he put his header well wide before the unmarked Daniel Naylor headed tamely over the bar. An early injury to Charley Barker saw Erin Amu on as substitute and he sent Myles Cowling on a forward run which ended with Knox going full length to push the ball for a corner. After 27 minutes the keeper distinguished himself with a fine save from Joe Rider and ten minutes later, he produced an even more impressive save to deny the same St Neots player. On the stroke of half time a four man move from the back ended with a free kick from which Rider nodded wide.
Immediately after the break Neo Richard-Noel was sent tumbling in the box but the Referee waved away the visitors’ penalty appeals. As St Neots increased their hold on the match, Kempston had two defenders cautioned and after 57 minutes Rider then got the ball in the net but was ruled offside. However, he was not to be denied for less than a minute later in St Neots’ next attack Richard-Noel picked up a long clearance from Louis Chadwick on the left wing to set up Joe Rider for his first goal – his third in as many appearances. Kempston broke away with Charlie Hayford feeding former Saints striker Chris Manangu but he was driven wide and the chance lost. Cowling was again the live wire for the visitors, and he brought another excellent save from Knox at the expense of a corner. As the second half wore on Kempton visibly flagged and the last ten minutes was one-way traffic towards the home goal. After 81 minutes Wynford Marfo powered forward to feed JoeRider and he produced an electric burst of speed to round the final defender and shoot powerfully across the home keeper into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0. The icing on the cake came four minutes into added time when visiting skipper Lee Watkins powered his way into the penalty area to be upended by William Peck and when the Referee pointed to the spot there was only one St Neots player going to take the kick. Joe Rider calmly placed his kick into the corner of the net to take his personal tally to five goals this season and earn his right to the match ball as a souvenir.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to Joe Rider (Kindly sponsored by Mark Gearing)
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