Yaxley         2             St Neots Town         2          

St Neots came from behind to earn a point in a match they really should have won.  They dominated the match from the start and created several chances and won numerous corners, but they were thwarted by a first-class display by home custodian Aaron Butcher.   Yaxley then produced the perfect sucker punch scoring goals in their first two credible attacks to lead at the break.  It was a case of history repeating itself because this was the fifth league and cup meeting of the two sides in the four seasons post-pandemic and St Neots’ success tally is now just two draws and three defeats. On the positive side this was a solid St Neots display despite losing the services of play maker Dan Barton who had failed to recover from a weekend injury. He was replaced by Saleem Akanbi, and the other change saw weekend scorer Andre Hasanally start up front in place of Robbie Mason.

St Neots dominated the opening exchanges and could have gone ahead after six minutes when Manny Osei rounded his marker only for his cross to be inches too high for Trey Charles arriving unmarked at the far post. Osei was then upended by Jon-Paul Duncliffe on the edge of the area earning the Yaxley player the first of six bookings for his side, and from the Charles free kick, defender Charlie Stallard headed narrowly over the bar.   The lively Charles then saw a shot rebound from a post and Andre Hasanally shot just wide but then after 22 minutes the pressure told as Andre Hasanally drove home a Charles cross pulled back from the bye-line. However, the lead was short-lived because two minutes later from a poorly defended corner former Saint Jake Battersby beat the visiting keeper with a low shot to level the scores. If that shocked the visitors worse was to follow because six minutes later Jamie Greygoose was forced to leave his area in an attempt to head away a cross to an unmarked attacker, but he collided with that attacker and the ball dropped to Tom Waumsley who from around 40 yards calmly lobbed the ball into the unguarded net to put Yaxley in front. St Neots hit back quickly with Charles and Stallard both seeing shots rebound from the woodwork in the same attack before another full length save by Butcher maintained his sides’ lead.

After the break the tempo dropped for a while as the home side introduced substitutes and St Neots responded with Robbie Mason introduced to boost their attack. A spectacular overhead attempt by Trey Charles after 71 minutes flew wide but just a minute later the St Neots striker made up for that disappointment as he moved inside from the right to net his sides’ second goal to level the scores. That increased the tempo of the contest as both sides went in search of a winning goal. Yaxley skipper Dan Cotton was then sent off as he picked up a second yellow card and St Neots introduced a further substitute with Declan Nche replacing defender Charlie Stallard. Now it was all out attack from the visitors as Charles forced a superb save from the busy Butcher.  However, St Neots almost paid the price for their all-out attacking ambition as on a quick break Yaxley had the ball in the net but fortunately an offside flag saved St Neots blushes. There was still time for one final St Neots chance to snatch victory, but home hero Butcher produced a flying save to push Charles’ late header over the bar for a corner.


Tonight’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to ANDRE HASANALLY


St Neots: Greygoose, Lewis, Smith, Anderson, Stallard, Adeyemi, Osei, Tarpey, Charles, Hasanally, Akanbi.

Subs: Mason (for Akanbi 66 mins), Nche (for Adeyemi 83 mins), Plummer, Abbott and Bent.

Cards: none

Goals: Hasanally (22 mins), Charles (72 mins)

Yaxley: Butcher, Duncliffe, Garner, Harris, Airen, Ikpo-Ondo, Silva-Morais, Hook, Waumsley, Cotton, Battersby.

Subs: Salmon (for Garner 32 mins), Hamill (for Hook 55 mins), Baughan (for Silva-Morais 82 mins), Rowell and Osilaja.

Cards: Cotton (RED – 2 x Y – 74 mins), Duncliffe (Y – 8 mins), Salmon (Y – 58 mins), Garner (Y – 62 mins), Airen (Y – 77 mins)

Goals: Battersby (24 mins), Waumsley (30 mins)

Referee: Gareth Davies (Lutterworth)

Attendance: 110

John Walker