SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
Barton Rovers 2 St Neots Town 0
Two goals in a first half spell of three minutes plundered by the home side set St Neots back on their heels after their unbeaten run of three successive league draws. They had thrashed Barton 6-2 back in September to record their biggest league win of the season but there was never going to be a repeat of that result with St Neots unable to shake off their lethargy in front of goal. The home side just about shaded the first half but after the break St Neots looked re-energised and dominated possession but once again there was no finish in the final third of the pitch. Ironically it was the least St Neots changed line-up for three months with just Marc Abbott in for Callum Anderson the only difference from the weekend match with Harlow, but the defence that had been so reliable was breached twice and that was sufficient for a struggling host side to claim all three points. With their next two fixtures also against sides below them in the league table, St Neots must find the goals to give them confidence and league points or the remainder of the season is going to be a continuous worried glance over their shoulders for the team.
In the first attack of a disappointing first 25 minutes Kwai Marsh-Brown got free on the right but shot over the bar and at the other end Louis Chadwick was untroubled in goal other than one low save from Urijah Gordon-Douglas. From a Charley Barker corner a header by Neo Richard-Noel was too high and it was then against the run of play that the host side took the lead. Barton counter attacked down the right flank and at the far post Maximillian Ryan was given space to turn the ball past the dive of Louis Chadwick after 27 minutes, and worse was to follow just three minutes later. Marc Abbott dithered on the edge of his own penalty area, and he was dispossessed by Ryan who added the second goal. St Neots were stunned and mustered no significant response to their plight before half time with Bradley Bell close to adding to Barton’s lead with a snapshot that skimmed the visitor’s cross bar.
St Neots came out from the interval in a positive frame of mind quickly introducing Myles Cowling for Kwai Marsh-Brown and they began to dominate possession. A further change five minutes later saw Callum Anderson replace Marc Abbott but there was still far too little effect on St Neots finishing. After 63 minutes Cowling freed Richard Noel who was thwarted when home keeper Matthew Boylan dived bravely at his feet and the match became untidy with the referee booking several players. A Kai Phelan free kick from 25 yards was only just too high as Barton began to rely on breakaway attacks and with a quarter of an hour left Ky Marsh-Brown was played clear by Ben Heal but ruled marginally offside. Barton had clearly settled for their advantage and ventured few players forward, happy to concede free kicks when St Neots threatened. Seven minutes from time Urijah Gordon-Douglas picked up a straight red card for a reckless challenge but the numerical advantage was never exploited by a St Neots side looking short of ideas and confidence.
It was the eleventh time in their last twenty-two league outings that St Neots have failed to find the back of the net.
Match Photo Gallery Available Here
Tonight’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to PERRY WHITE
St Neots: Chadwick, Heal, Dearman, Abbott, White, Marfo, Barker, Watkins, Richard-Noel, Kwai Marsh-Brown, Ky Marsh-Brown
Subs: Cowling (for Kwai Marsh-Brown 52 mins), Anderson (for Abbott 79 mins), Johnson, Smith, and Anthony.
Cards: Kwai Marsh-Brown (Y – 14 mins), Dearman (Y – 47 mins), Barker (Y – 67 mins)
Barton: Boylan, Thomas. Ryan, Phelan, Dummett, Akinbusoye, Gordon-Douglas, Ackom, Bell, Greco, Emmanuel
Subs: Kalonda (for Emmanuel 78 mins), Andrews (for Akinbusoye 72 mins), Powell, Wilson, and Scott-Culkin.
Cards: Gordon-Douglas (RED – 83 mins), Emmanuel (Y – 53 mins), Ryan (Y – 70 mins), Bell (Y – 73 mins)
Goals: Ryan (2) (27 & 30 mins)
Referee: Matthew Fletcher (Beaconsfield)