ST NEOTS TOWN 4 GODMANCHESTER ROVERS 1
St Neots returned to winning ways with their first league victory since 14th October to complete a double over neighbours Godmanchester Rovers. It was a contest of two contrasting halves with the visitors recovering from a 3-0 first half mauling to roar back to have the better of the second half exchanges but finding themselves unable to claw back that mid-game deficit. In front of a bumper seasonal crowd of 427 St Neots delighted their supporters with their all-out attacking first half display but had some serious defending to do after the break. They showcased two of their recent signings in their starting line-up with the experienced Murphy Culkin starting at the heart of the defence and Christian Tavernier in midfield with Dean Dummett and Jamal Batchilly starting on the bench. Magloire Muyembe also returned to the side with skipper Kyle Lincoln injured. The visitors will return to the Premier Plus stadium next month for a Huntingdonshire Senior Cup semi-final.
The match got off to a lightning start when after just 40 seconds Rhys Thorpe saw a net bound shot deflected for a corner. Following that cross debutante Christian Tavernier saw another effort from outside the box pushed away at full stretch by visiting keeper Ben Newton. The visitors replied with a swift breakaway attack and home keeper James Goff had to sprint from his line to save bravely at the feet of Luke Lindsay. However, it was St Neots making all the running with Jordan Brown bundled over in the area with play waved on and then Rhys Thorpe earned an unusual booking for removing his vest without permission! After 19 minutes the pressure paid off as Harvey Williams found Jordan Brown (left) unmarked on the right and his delightful chip caught visiting keeper Newton two yards off his line and crept in under the bar. The same St Neots player then brought a good save from Newton as St Neots maintained their pressure and the lively Thorpe was twice just wide with two low efforts across the face of goal. The pressure paid off after 32 minutes when Magloire Muyembe threaded a measured through pass to pick out Harvey Williams (right) and he darted between two defenders to claim St Neots’ second goal. Two minutes later it could have been 3-0 but the under pressure visiting keeper stuck out a leg to deflect another Thorpe effort for a corner, but it only delayed St Neots third goal by ten minutes because on the stroke of half time following a Dammy Nickels free kick only cleared to the edge of the penalty area, Chris Tavernier (below left) marked his debut with a thundering volley that flew into the net to afford St Neots their dominant three goals advantage at the break.
It was however a different story after half time.The visitors posted their intention by introducing an additional attacking player and set themselves up in a defiant attacking formation. St Neots were rocked back on their heels but defended well as both Luke Lindsay and Ryan Henry squandered good chances with shots wide of their target. Satisfied to defend when they did get the ball St Neots made little impression although against the run of play Thorpe squandered a golden opening set up by Joran Brown. It was then a procession of substitutions by both sides that broke up any semblance of methodical approach by either side and despite the visitors’ better share of possession the home keeper was seldom seriously called into action. The visitors had committed themselves to attack, and gaps began to appear in defence and after 77 minutes St Neots substitute Dean Dummett (right) got on the end of a Dammy Nickels free kick to head home St Neots fourth goal to kill off any lingering hopes of a Godmanchester comeback. However, in injury time there was a crumb of comfort for the visitors when the referee awarded them a late penalty kick confidently stroked home by substitute Hashim Bakar to offer the visitors their limited consolation.
Today’s Saints Supporters Man of the Match – Kindly sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry, – Christian Tavernier
St Neots Town: Goff, Josh Brown, Nickels, Tavernier, George, Culkin, Jordan Brown, Muyembe, Thorpe, Hatch, Williams
Subs: Ajana (for Williams 64 mins), Dummett (for Tavernier 67 mins), Batchilly (for Hatch 73 mins), Akinbobola (for Jordan Brown 81 mins), Brooks (for Nickels 83 mins)
Cards: Thorpe (Y – 14 mins), Jordan Brown (Y – 25 mins), Culkin (Y – 82 mins)