NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE – MIDLAND DIVISION
St Neots Town 1 Sutton Coldfield Town 3
St Neots disappointed their supporters when they conceded a goal after just 38 seconds in their latest home match. However, despite being outplayed in the first 45 minutes they battled their way back into the game after the break and were disappointed not to get some reward as the visitors shut up shop to defend resolutely. An unfortunate incident in added time saw substitute Robbie Mason sent off and a further player from each side booked as frustrations boiled over late in the game. The visitors had beaten an under strength St Neots 6-0 midweek in their first meeting this season, and they had won their last two matches to climb to twelfth in the table. Their first half display of attacking power and crisp finishing was as good by any visiting side this season and St Neots displayed admirable resolution to compete after the break. There was just one team change from their midweek victory with Panny Boxer coming in for Charlie Johnson.
That early opening goal scored by Rhys Hilton with a low shot inside the near post was almost doubled two minutes later when striker Trea Bertie ballooned a shot over the bar but St Neots tried to respond as a Liam Hook corner was mishandled by visiting keeper Jonathan Brown and in a frenzied following period two St Neots efforts were cleared off the line. However, the visitors looking slick in possession looked much the better side and a searching through ball played Ryan Edmunds clear but his shot rebounded off a goalpost. Trey Charles shot wide after good work by Callum Anderson and Manny Osei had a close range effort deflected but it was no real surprise when the visitors doubled their lead after 39 minutes when the speedy Trea Bertie latched onto a long clearance to power his way past the last defender to score at the second attempt after Jamie Greygoose had parried his first effort. St Neots must have been relieved to hear the half time whistle having limited the damage to just two goals.
A typically defiant response by St Neots Manager Pete Gill saw two attacking substitutions after the break with Robbie Mason and Dan Barton replacing Manny Osei and Charlie Lewis. However as if a to rub salt in the St Neots wounds it took Trea Bertie just two minutes after the restart to score again to extend the visitors’ lead. St Neots responded with Charles sending an acrobatic overhead kick just wide and with the exciting pace of Dan Barton added to their attack St Neots were beginning to dominate. Unfortunately for St Neots the clever dribbling skills of Barton were too often ended by desperate tackling and free kicks that brought little reward. Both Mason and Charles sent efforts over the bar after promising build ups and St Neots then sent on fit again Liam Smyth for his second substitute appearance. After 63 minutes from a Hook corner ROBBIE MASON (left) netted from close range but that was as good as it got for St Neots. The visitors packed their defence and their keeper produced two good saves to deny Barton and Charles as they held out for all three points. However, St Neots overall performance bodes well for the future.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to TREY CHARLES
St Neots Town: Greygoose, Lewis, Smith, Anderson, Dickens, Johnson, Duncliffe, Hook, Charles, Rider, Osei
Subs: Mason (sub for Osei 46 mins), Barton (sub for Lewis 46 mins), Smyth (sub for Rider 61 Mins), Stallard, and Njoku.
Cards: Mason (RED – 90+2 mins), Lewis (Y – 22 mins), Hook (Y – 25 mins), Anderson (Y – 90+2 mins)
Goals: Mason (90 mins)
S/Coldfield: Brown, Sawyer, Armitage, Mills, Beresford, Zito, Dampha, Clements, Bertie, Hilton. Edmunds
Subs: Todd (for Armitage 73 mins), Ellis (for Hilton 75 mins), Maphosa (for Mills 83 mins), Mansfield and Hendrie.
Cards: Dampha (Y – 45+1 min), Bertie (Y – 90+2 mins)
Goals: Bertie 2 (39 & 47 mins), Hilton (38 seconds)
Referee: Chris Darling (Newmarket)