SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
St Neots Town 1 Harlow Town 1
St Neots third league point in as many games lifted them one place up the league table as they recorded only their third goal in their last five outings. They left it late – that important goal coming two minutes into added time, giving them a second 1-1 draw with their Hertfordshire visitors this season, when another home defeat appeared to be staring them in the face. It was no more than they deserved because despite their lack of finishing they had competed well throughout a rather torrid match in which there had only been one effort on either goal to seriously test the goalkeepers. Skipper Lee Watkins’ fourth league goal of the campaign was treated with jubilation by players and supporters and should act as a spur in their remaining matches as they seek the comfort of a mid-table finish. Once again injuries prevented Manager Pete Gill from naming a settled line-up with Myles Cowling and Dylan Switters side lined and a couple of others only partly fit on the substitutes bench. From their previous league match Myles Cowling, Joe Rider and Charlie Johnson were replaced by Ben Heal, Kwai Marsh-Brown and Joe Dearman.
The first twenty-five minutes of an evenly contested affair produced very little of noteworthy interest with the two sides largely cancelling each other out with both defences looking comfortably in control. When the game did eventually spring to life the Marsh-Brown brothers had St Neots first real effort with Kwai crossing for Ky to head well wide of goal. From a searching Joe Dearman free kick, Neo Richard-Noel won the ball at the far post but could only direct it into the side netting from a narrow angle. On the half hour the home goal was threatened for the first time when a cutting through ball from Amar Lewis split the home defence, but Samson Maagbe dithered in possession and only managed to win a corner that was cleared by Perry White. After 36 minutes Syrus Gordon pushed Louis Chadwick to a full-length save and then Lewis shot wide after a promising attack by the visitors. With just two minutes of the first half remaining the visitors eased into the lead. An attack down the left saw a cross from Tiannie Wilson not cleared and in the resultant attempt to get the ball away a close range shot struck Wynford Marfo on the arm and the Referee awarded a penalty kick confidently converted for the visitors by Alexander Read.
Harlow began the second half well and they created two good openings in the first ten minutes but to the relief of the home side Wilson shot over the bar when well placed and then Marcus Marku, left unmarked ten yards from goal, headed tamely over the bar. St Neots hit back with the impressive Lee Watkins adopting a forward role, and he saw his effort blocked by a defender and then he slipped a short pass to Kwai Marsh-Brown who skied his effort over the bar. A free kick by Charley Barker beat the defensive wall but was comfortably saved by Ashley Jones before a looping effort from Read clipped the St Neots cross bar. St Neots most promising efforts on goal were from long range and a Barker shot passed narrowly wide with the visiting keeper beaten, and then a confrontation in midfield resulted in a booking for a player on either side. Right on full-time Richard-Noel was upended but penalty appeals were ignored and then two minutes into time added a penetrating run by Kwai Marsh-Brown was not halted as he slipped the ball to Lee Watkins who earned St Neots a very welcome and deserved point.
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Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to LEE WATKINS
St Neots: Chadwick, Heal, Dearman, Anderson, White, Marfo, Barker, Watkins, Richard-Noel, Kwai Marsh-Brown, Ky Marsh-Brown
Subs: Abbott (for Dearman 84 mins), Johnson and Smith.
Cards: Watkins (Y – 71 mins), Abbott (Y – 90+2 mins)
Goals: Watkins (90+2 mins)
Harlow: Jones, Small, Luke, Simms, Steele, Marku, Maagbe, Gordon, Read, Lewis, Wilson
Subs: Attrill (for Marku 70 mins), Eadie (for Wilson 77 mins), Omooba (for Maagbe 87 mins), and Bhamra.
Cards: Lewis (Y – 34 mins), Marku (Y – 67 mins), Gordon (Y – 71 mins), Attrill (90 +2 mins)
Goals: Read – pen – ( 43 mins)
Referee: Simon Kavanagh (Rugby)