SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
St Neots Town 1 Berkhamsted 1
St Neots’ best performance for several weeks afforded them a deserved share of the points as high flying Berkhamsted came to town. The Hertfordshire side were hoping for a victory that would have taken them back to the top of the league table but in the event, they were fortunate to leave the Premier Plus Stadium with a share of the points. Injury ravaged St Neots produced their best team performance for almost two months and only their finishing in front of goal let them down. With Neo Richard-Noel side lined by an injury sustained in the previous match and Joe Rider still not fit the home side went into the match without a recognised striker, yet still produced a performance that stunned a side that had spent most of the season at the top of the table. Kwai Marsh-Brown returned to the side after injury having to play up front, and Wynford Marfo was back after his one match ban with Marc Abbott dropping to the bench. The other team change saw Gradi Milange make his first start at the expense of Dequaine Wilson Braithwaite who was also on the bench.
If the visitors had imagined that this would be a routine victory over a struggling side, it did not take long for this notion to disappear. St Neots adopted a defiant attacking policy from the start with visiting keeper Xavier Lomas-Leon having to save an early Charlie Johnson header from a Charley Barker corner. Aaron Smith then saw a net bound shot blocked by a defender, and Joshua Green making only his second start tested Lomas. St Neots then had a very credible appeal for a penalty waved away when Smith broke into the area to be brought down from behind and the first effort by the visiting side saw a Cheyce Grant volley sail harmlessly over the bar. In fact there were only five minutes remaining in the first half when Berkhamsted built their first credible attack. Alie Bangura broke on the right only to see his effort rebound from the woodwork, but before St Neots regained possession a searing 25 yards effort by Cheyce Grant flew into the net to afford the visitors a half time lead against the run of play. However, before the break there was time for the visiting keeper to produce a good save to deny Lee Watkins before seeing another effort by Miles Cowling blocked by a defender.
After Barker had sent St Neots’ first second half effort over the crossbar St Neots deservedly levelled the scores after 56 minutes when skipper Lee Watkins netted his third league goal of the campaign after good work by the Marsh-Brown brothers. That seemed to boost St Neots’ confidence and in the next five minutes they squandered a golden opportunity when the unmarked Kwai Marsh-Brown fired over the bar from ten yards and Wynford Marfo then was only inches wide of the far post with an angled effort. Briefly the visitors threatened with Louis Chadwick having to dive bravely at the feet of Lewis Toomey and substitute Jordan Frederick shot wide. Watkins almost doubled his goals tally with a shot that beat the visiting keeper and the far post and then Robbie Goodman brought down Myles Cowling on his way forward and was booked. The lively Kwai Marsh-Brown had a shot parried and Barker should have scored but shot over the bar. Both defences cleared off the line in a lively finish – substitute Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite saving St Neots, and Ryan KInnane denying Marfo at the other end.
Tonight’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to KWAI MARSH-BROWN
St Neots Town: Chadwick, Marfo, Smith, Barker, Johnson, Milenge, Cowling, Watkins (L), Green, Kai Marsh-Brown, Kyjuon Marsh-Brown
Subs: Wilson-Braithwaite (for Milenge 65 mins), Abbott, Smalley, and Peacock
Cards: Kai Marsh-Brown (Y – 9 mins)
Goals: Watkins (56 mins)
Berkhamsted: Lomas-Leon, Akubuine, Cooper, Watkins (A), Kinnane, Goodman, Bailey, Kirkpatrick, Toomey, Grant, Bangura (A)
Subs: Frederick (for Watkins (A) 53 mins), Draycott (for Grant 58 minutes), Bangura (M), Chamberlain and Groom.
Cards: Goodman (Y – 9 mins), Kirkpatrick (Y – 78 mins)
Goals: Grant (40 mins)
Referee: Andrew Hitchcox (Somersham)