St Neots buried their hoodoo at The Meadow in Chesham as they defeated tenants Aylesbury United by the odd goal in three thanks to Joe Rider’s twelfth league goal of the season in just ten starts. They had never before beaten Aylesbury and it was their seventh visit to the ground having drawn two and lost four against the host club in Southern League Premier Division meetings. With George Whitehall unwell they had to recall goalkeeper Louis Chadwick from a loan spell at Arlesey, and he responded with one of his best performances that included three important saves. Still awaiting players back from the injury list and apart from the change in goal, St Neots made just one team change bringing in fit again Joe Rider for Elliott Sartorius who was on the bench.
St Neots could not have had to recover from a worse start to a league match for after kicking off they lost the ball to their opponents and just 18 seconds after the first whistle they conceded the opening goal of the contest. Max Hercules received the ball on the left and drifted past his marker to cross for striker Ty Deacon who twisted his way past Mamadou Jobe to beat the keeper with a fine finish. St Neots look stunned and after Jordan Jenkins had gone close to second goal for the home side – a header from a Jake Bewley corner – the visitors lost midfielder Charley Barker after twelve minutes to injury with fit again Ben Heal replacing him. Chadwick then produced an excellent save from Ben Seaton following a corner and he was then relieved to see a cross-shot from Hercules rebound from the far post to be cleared. St Neots were not at their best in attack despite sharing possession with their finishing hopeful rather than accurate and Neo Richard-Noel set up by Heal had their best chance to level the scores, but home keeper Archie Davis saved well. Just past the half hour a bad mistake by Wynford Marfo let in Deacon but Chadwick saved well and then with the keeper off his line Seaton tried his luck with a 45 yards lob that was inches too high. The lively Kwai Marsh-Brown then shot over the bar but on the stroke of half time St Neots levelled as skipper Lee Watkins fired in a low shot from the edge of the penalty area for his second goal of the campaign. There was still time in added time for the home keeper to make an important near post save to keep out a clever Rider flick.
Jake Battersby replaced Marfo after the break and St Neots looked more positive with Watkins seeing an effort deflected over the bar. However in their first real attack of the second half after 55 minutes home substitute Ollie Hogg set up Harry Jones who brought an outstanding save from the visiting keeper. St Neots had by now regained some of their poise and confidence and Richard- Noel shot just over and clever footwork by Rider afforded him a chance but his effort was cleared off the line by David O’Connor with his keeper beaten. There was one anxious moment for the visitors when Jobe was dispossessed to leave Hogg clear, but his finish was poor and then after 76 minutes St Neots crafted the winning goal as Heal weaved past three defenders to set up Joe Rider, whose finish was lethal. The home keeper then saved further efforts from Richard-Noel and Rider and Aylesbury’s final attack saw a Jack Wood header comfortably saved by Chadwick – the result lifting St Neots back up to fourth in the league
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to LEE WATKINS (kindly sponsored by The Bolton Family)
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