A much-improved performance by St Neots saw a conceded added time equaliser that left them still searching for their first league victory in the new season. It was the ultimate sucker punch dealt out by visitors Hertford Town after the home side had dominated much of the second half. A combination of outstanding goalkeeping by visiting custodian Luke Mewitt and some speculative finishing cost Manager Pete Gill’s side two points their performance had deserved. So, after two league matches without a victory, St Neots now make the short trip along the A421 to face neighbours Bedford Town in the FA Cup in their next outing. The Manager made just one team change with Arel Amu replacing Joe Rider up front and his pairing with Nehemiah Richard-Noel in attack promises much for the future. Again, it was St Neots’ midfield energy that ensured their greater share of possession but early second half saves by Mewitt from Amu, Richard-Noel and Watkins earned his side an unexpected share of the spoils.
The opening phase of the match was evenly contested and after an early effort by Jack Hewitt that sailed over the home crossbar, Myles Cowling shot narrowly wide from a Charley Barker free kick. Visiting striker Samuel Faniyan had two openings but failed to find the target but St Neots were looking confident in possession and creating chances of their own. They deservedly took the lead after 17 minutes with a slick move as Ben Heal found space on the right flank before setting up Nehemiah Richard-Noel who spotted the visiting keeper out of position to net at the near post. However, that was to be the visiting keeper’s only mistake! After 33 minutes he dived bravely at the feet of Richard-Noel after good approach play by Cowling, but the visitors were exploiting the full width of the pitch with the home defence guilt of playing too narrow a defence. Louis Chadwick saved well from Obinna Ogbonna and right on the break St Neots almost doubled their lead when Richard-Noel went clear of the defence from a neat Amu flick, but the keeper saved well at his feet.
St Neots began the second half well and Barker and skipper Lee Watkins combined well for the latter to test the keeper with a low shot. The keeper then pushed an Amu shot for a corner at full stretch and some desperate defending by the visiting side saw Ben Weyman booked for a cynical challenge. Play was moving swiftly from end-to-end with St Neots getting the ball in the net but being denied by an offside flag, and from the free kick Hewitt saw his effort rebound from the St Neots crossbar. After a spell of play largely in midfield, St Neots saw the industrious Barker set up Richard-Noel whose finish was too high and then visiting substitute Jacob Samber-Richards shot over the bar after going clear of the defence. With sixteen minutes left St Neots introduced substitute Florian Tsaguim for the limping Amu and he was quickly in the thick of the action shooting over the bar from a narrow angle. St Neots increased the pressure in the last ten minutes and Mewitt made significant saves from Cowling and Tsaguim and another Cowling effort just skimmed the crossbar. As the final whistle approached Hertford introduced substitute Jake Bunyan and he was involved in the 92nd incident in which another substitute Kit Brown snatched the goal to give his side an unlikely first point of the season.
Tonight’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to NEO RICHARD NOEL (Kindly Sponsored by Priory Saints)
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