NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE – MIDLAND DIVISION
Hinckley LR 1 St Neots Town 1
In their previous match St Neots had made up for an indifferent first half by coming back from two goals behind to take all three points. The pattern of this match was in stark contrast. St Neots dominated much of the first half and had chances to go to the break with more than the solitary goal that they led by. The home side then came back after half time in a much more positive frame of mind and in the final analysis St Neots did well to return home with one point. They had hoped to build on that morale boosting Boxing Day victory and the great thing in their favour was that for the first time this season Manager Pete Gill was able to name an unchanged line up from that previous victory. They also had the opportunity of being able to complete their first league double of the season because they had defeated Hinckley 3-0 in their first ever meeting at the Premier Plus Stadium on August Bank Holiday Monday. However, Hinckley have a decent home record having won half of their completed matches at their Leicester Road ground and on the overall balance of play they were deserving of their point.
St Neots began well and had the better of possession early on but both defences stood firm and in the opening twenty minutes neither goal was threatened except for when Brandon Njoku was unable to finish from ten yards out after a great run by Trey Charles who had outpaced the defence on the right flank. After 23 minutes Charlie Lewis forged forward exchanging passes but seeing his final shot blocked by a defender and as the ball broke Joe Rider sent a fierce effort just wide with the home keeper beaten. On the half hour the home side produced their first real threat on the St Neots goal as Jordan Burrow glanced a header over the crossbar after neat work by Lewis Jones. Four minutes later St Neots pressure paid off as Trey Charles cut in from the right to unleash a low left foot shot into the corner of the net to put the visitors in front. It was no less than they deserved and eight minutes later they should have increased their lead when Lewis and Liam Hook combined to set up Joe Rider, but he dragged his shot just wide. The half ended with Charles getting the ball in the net a second time but seeing his effort ruled out by an offside flag.
Hinckley looked rejuvenated after the break as they set about retrieving their deficit. In their first attack full back Louie Gill got round the back of the defence and goalkeeper Jamie Greygoose was fully extended to tip the ball over the bar. The pressure on the visiting defence was maintained and after 59 minutes an attack down the left was not repelled and from a narrow angle Jordan Burrow sneaked his low shot into the far corner of the net for an equalising goal. St Neots responded by sending on Dan Barton for Manny Osei and he was soon in action teasing the home defence. A second St Neots change saw Robbie Mason on for the tiring Joe Rider and St Neots began to compete after a tepid start to the second period. A searching cross from Charles saw Mason just unable to reach the ball in front of a gaping net and from a cross by the same player Barton headed wide. A lengthy effort from Lewis was well saved by the home keeper and in a grandstand finish Charles was robbed in front of goal and substitute Nick Reeves put Hinckley’s last chance over the crossbar.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – TOM DICKENS
St Neots Town: Greygoose, Lewis, Smith, Anderson (c), Boxer, Dickens, Osei, Hook, Charles, Rider, Njoku
Subs: Barton (for Osei 61 mins), Mason (for Rider 74 mins), Duncliffe, Barnett and Goumou.
Cards: Smith (Y – 90 mins)
Goals: Charles (34 mins)
Hinckley: Highland, Acton, Gill, Alcott, Jenno, Humphreys, Jones, Gore, Williams, Brennan, Burrow
Subs: Lyne (for Jones 71 mins), Reeves (for Gore 85 mins), Banray, Smith and Roggero.
Cards: Jenno (Y – 55 mins), Acton (Y – 76 mins, Alcott (Y – 89 mins)
Goals: Burrow (59 mins)
Referee: Sam Lee (Byfield)