SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
Ware FC 0 St Neots Town 0
Without three players who had succumbed to COVID during the week, St Neots displayed remarkable resilience to return from high flying Ware with a point from a goalless draw – their first goalless draw away from home for almost three years. In addition they survived the last ten minutes with just ten men after Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite had seen red for a rash tackle. It was very fortunate that they deservedly earned that point because four of the clubs below them all picked up points – two of them (Kidlington and Wantage) recording victories away from home! It was a contrast from the first meeting of the two sides this season at the Premier Plus Stadium where the Hertfordshire side had sneaked a victory in a seven goals thriller. With Gradi Milenge moving on and skipper Lee Watkins, Aaron Smith and Callum Anderson all isolating there had to be significant team changes and back into the side came Neo Richard-Noel, Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite and Wynford Marfo plus Ky Marsh-Brown replacing his brother who was on the bench. However, it was rather a disappointing contest with far too fewer clear chances than the openly fought contest deserved.
St Neots certainly began well displaying no symptoms of a team lacking in belief and confidence. In less than two minutes they had carved out one of the best chances of the match when a swift attack caught the home side cold, and the ball fell to Neo Richard-Noel and his close effort was well saved by the home keeper. Joe Rider off balance then headed wide from a Charley Barker free kick and a stinging shot from Dylan Switters required a double save from Bradley Robinson. Gradually Ware came into he contest, and they should have capitalised on their first effort on goal after 20 minutes but after Josh Williams had outpaced the St Neots defence to set up Liam Dulson, his effort was well wide of target. Making only his third appearance in the side Switters looked comfortable in midfield and he set up Ky Marsh-Brown whose effort sailed harmlessly over the crossbar. Ware’s best first half attack after 35 minutes saw Josh Williams power through to see his shot blocked by Perry White but the ball span away to Lee Rose whose effort clipped the St Neots crossbar on its way to safety. During that first half three home players had found their names into the Referee’s notebook as they defended sometimes over enthusiastically and in time added at the end of the first half a low shot from Rider brought a significant low save from Robinson.
Ware looked a better organised side after the break and Louis Chadwick had to save bravely at the feet of Liam Dulson after just three minutes of the second period. There followed a spell of Ware possession that produced little to threaten the St Neots defence, although from a Thomas Bruno free kick, Chadwick needed two attempts to retrieve the ball in the crowded penalty area. Ky Marsh-Brown had had a quiet first half but in a two minutes’ spell he took on the home defence to see his first effort blocked before being hauled down by a defender to concede a free kick which St Neots failed to take advantage of. After 69 minutes Richard-Noel beat a wide defender to make for goal, but he was brought down earning the home side their fourth yellow card, but again St Neots could not use the free kick to their advantage. St Neots’ downfall was the lack of accuracy with their final pass and when Swatters was injured ten minutes from time they had to reorganise. In a frenetic final ten minutes neither side could press home the advantage and the eventual outcome was a point apiece.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to skipper CHARLEY BARKER
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St Neots Town: Chadwick, Marfo, Wilson-Braithwaite, Barker, White, Heal, Cowling, Switters, Richard-Noel, Rider, Ky Marsh-Brown
Subs: Kwai Marsh-Brown (for Switters 80 mins), Dearman (for Rider 84 mins), Kobus and Gill.
Cards: Wilson-Braithwaite (RED – 85 mins), Richard-Noel (Y – 67 mins), Switters (Y – 71 mins)
Ware FC: Robinson, Milner, Mulley, Rose, Kendall, Arthur, Williams, Bruno, Hope, Skandan, Dulson
Subs: Adu-Donyinah (for Skandan 62 mins), Buchanan (for Dulson 65 mins), Esprit, Bardie and Vigneswaran
Cards: Rose (Y – 21 mins), Mulley (Y – 32 mins), Bruno (Y – 40 mins), Arthur (Y – 69 mins), Williams (Y – 90+1 mins)
Referee: Peter Wilson (Chelmsford)