SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
St Neots Town 6 Colney Heath 1
St Neots recorded their second six goals match total of the season at the Premier Plus Stadium to crush struggling Colney Heath and avenge a single goal defeat in the sides’ first meeting earlier this season. Star of the day was striker Joe Rider who contributed four of St Neots goals, to claim his best senior haul since his youth team days four years ago, and but for a fine display in the visitors goal by Tiernan Parker his tally could have been even higher. It was St Neots fourth win in their last six matches – too late to mount a play-off challenge but a solid bedrock on which to plan next season’s campaign. With Harvey Beckett and Ben Heal side lined by injury and Kwai Marsh-Brown starting on the bench, Manager Pete Gill recalled Perry White, Glenn McConnell and Wynford Marfo to his sides’ starting line-up. There was also news that Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite and Neo Richard – Noel had moved on – the latter to neighbours St Ives Town, on loan, for the remainder of the season.
The match got off to a lively start in the Spring sunshine with St Neots taking the lead in their first attack after just three minutes. Skipper Lee Watkins progressed down the right flank rounding his marker to cross deep to the far post where Rob Mason claimed his second goal of the campaign with a neat finish from a tight angle. The visitors replied with a counter-attack after 16 minutes that ended with Harry Shepherd firing wildly over the bar. St Neots increased their advantage three minutes later when Mason unselfishly fed Joe Rider who stepped inside his marker to net with an angled shot. An injury to Wynford Marfo saw an early appearance for substitute Kwai Marsh-Brown and he immediately added some pace and imagination in midfield with skipper Lee Watkins moving back into defence. As St Neots settled to dominate the attacking play, one of the best first half moves saw Rider set up Mason whose instinctive volley beat the visiting keeper but was wide of the far post. The visitors were not going to be overrun and former St Neots player Aaron Hudson rattled the St Neots far post with a well-struck free kick, but St Neots went on to create two further first half chances with visiting keeper Tiernan Parker making notable saves to deny Rob Mason and Glenn McConnell.
The second half brought a polished performance from the home side. Joe Rider added two goals from the penalty spot in the first ten minutes after the restart after two defenders had illegally halted St Neots attacks, and Marsh Brown, clearly relishing his midfield freedom could have twice added to the score – his second effort rebounding from a post. Little was seen on the visiting attack but after 63 minutes an opportunist snap-shot from 25 yards by substitute Hadley Gleeson surprised Louis Chadwick and pulled a goal back for the visitors. However at 4-1 with St Neots growing in confidence it was only going to be a consolation, and within four minutes Joe Rider was again the toast of the town as he claimed his fourth goal of the game with a low finish as he picked up a lengthy defensive clearance. Home substitute Saleem Akanbi might twice have added to the tally, but his finishing was off target, and it was left to Kwai Marsh-Brown to complete the scoring as he picked up an Aaron Smith cross to leave the unfortunate Parker helpless. It was a rounded confident performance by the home side lifting them into the top half of the table.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to JOE RIDERClick Here For Matchday Photo Gallery
St Neots Town: Chadwick, Marfo, Smith, Anderson, Johnson, White, Barker, Watkins, Mason, Rider, McConnell
Subs: Marsh-Brown (for Marfo 25 mins), Akanbi (for Mason 54 mins), Cowling (for McConnell 62 mins) Abbott, and Gill.
Goals: Rider (4) (19 mins, 51 mins (pen), 54 mins (pen) & 67 mins), Mason (3 mins), Marsh-Brown (70 mins)
Colney Heath: Parker, Whorms, Pascoe, Solomon, Jessup, Griffin, Hudson, Shepherd, Balogun, Nichols, Ishmael
Subs: Gleeson (for Balogun 54 mins), Nimi (for Shepherd 54 mins), Mokwenye, and Hepburn
Cards: Solomon (Y – 77 mins)
Goal: Gleeson (63 mins)
Referee: Gary Connell (Stevenage)