SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
Didcot Town 2 St Neots Town 2
St Neots returned from Didcot with a deserved point but were disappointed to have conceded the equalising goal just three minutes from time. They had recovered well from giving away an early goal when they were harshly penalised by the award of the penalty against them after just seven minutes, but they showed a determined spirit to fight back to be on level terms at the break. Didcot had won 4-0 at the Premier Plus Stadium in the first meeting of the two sides this season last December but had recorded only one league victory in their last twelve outings so were desperate for points to halt their slide down the table. A swirling wind made conditions difficult for both sides who nevertheless produced a competitive contest with neither deserving to lose. St Neots had to make a late team change when striker Rob Mason contracted COVID 24 hours before the trip, so Saleem Akanbi came in for only his second start in to lead the attack whilst Kwai Marsh Brown was preferred to Glenn McConnell who dropped to the bench.
Saleem Akanbi had a close range shot blocked in the first attack of the match but after seven minutes Didcot attacked down the right and a cross from Connor Barratt struck the arm of Aaron Smith from very close range and the Referee pointed to the penalty spot. Barratt himself struck a low shot beneath the diving body of Louis Chadwick to give the home side the early lead. Kwai Marsh-Brown was pulled down on route to goal at the other end earning a free kick that came to nothing and then George Jeacock brought a fine save from Chadwick as the contest continued end-to-end. Akanbi then headed narrowly over the bar from a Smith cross and the sides continued to swap attacking moves with a defender from each side picking up a yellow card easing the pressure on the respective defences. Akanbi scythed his way through the home defence but shot wide and then a minute before the break a Marsh-Brown low shot was blocked by a defender, but Joe Rider pounced to slide the ball home to level the scores. Deep into added time home keeper Leigh Bedwell produced the save of the match to deny Charlie Johnson.
Didcot started the second half better and Chadwick had to save full-length to deny James Glover after a swift home attack. However, a really significant substitution for St Neots came in the 56th minutes when Glenn McConnell replaced Perry White and inside a minute, he had put St Neots ahead from a Marsh-Brown cross. St Neots then had a purple patch with McConnell prominent in almost every attacking move. Set up by Aaron Smith, he forced Bedwell to a great save and then he brought a full length save from the home keeper and then rounded a defender to leave the keeper stranded, but Cameron McNeill got back to scrape the ball off the line. Marsh Brown went past two defenders to shoot narrowly wide and this spell of St Neots pressure should have produced what might have been a winning goal. However in the last ten minutes play became scrappy and sensing that St Neots were settling for their single goal margin, Didcot upped their game. The lively Barratt tormented the St Neots defence bringing a fine save from Chadwick but with three minutes left his low well-struck shot beat the keeper to claim the goal that saw the points shared. It could have been worse for St Neots for in time added. Barrett was only inches from his hat-trick with a free kick that grazed the wrong side of a goal post.
Click Here For Full Matchday Gallery
Today’s travelling Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to SALEEM AKANBI
St Neots Town: Chadwick, Marfo, Smith, Anderson, Johnson, White, Barker, Watkins, Akanbi, Rider, Marsh-Brown
Subs: McConnell (for White 56 mins), Cowling (for Watkins 80 mins), Abbott, and Gill.
Cards: White (Y – 42 mins), Johnson (59 mins), Barker (Y – 80 mins), Cowling (Y – 80 mins)
Goals: Rider (44 mins), McConnell (57 mins)
Didcot Town: Bedwell, Grant. McNeill, Bedwell, Green, Learoyd, Barder, Glover, Jeacock, Hedges, Barratt
Subs: Smith (for Green 30 mins), McKirnan (for Jeacock 90+2 mins), Alabi, Parsons, Giles
Cards: Barder (Y – 38 mins), McNeill (45 mins), Learoyd (77 mins)
Goals: Barratt 2 (7 mins – pen – & 87 mins)
Referee: Liam Beames (Cheltenham)