A hotly disputed penalty kick awarded nine minutes from time sent St Neots to their first league defeat of the season. The incident emanated from one of a clutch of second half corner kicks and when several players went down in the area St Neots believed that a free kick had been awarded to them for a foul on goalkeeper Jamie Greygoose. However, Referee Lauren Impey had spotted a push on a Daventry player and a penalty was awarded. Jack Bowen tucked away the spot kick and that proved to be the deciding goal. It was a harsh blow to a weakened St Neots side that had battled back from a goal down in the first half. Daventry had lost both of their previous league matches and this victory lifted them off the bottom of the table and above their hosts. St Neots had been forced into team changes once again with striker Trey Charles having picked up a weekend injury, so Robbie Mason moved up to lead the attack with Harvey Beckett starting his first match at the heart of the defence, and Charlie Stallard preferred to Declan Nche at full back.
Daventry looked determined from the first whistle playing an attacking style of play that forced their hosts on to the defensive. George Ball was played clear after five minutes, but he skied his effort over the crossbar and then Nat Gosnal-Tyler had an inswinging corner pushed away by Jamie Greygoose. The early pressure paid dividends for the visitors when after 21 minutes they took the lead when from a Gosnal-Tyler corner defender Jarvis Wilson rose above the defence to net with a towering header. St Neots responded positively and in the next attack Robbie Mason won the ball but headed across the face of goal from an Andre Hasanally free kick. However, in their next attack after 31 minutes they levelled when Saleem Akanbi claimed his second goal of the campaign with a well-placed header from another Hasanally free kick. It was then nip and tuck as both sides playing attacking football and creating chances but the finishing from both was inaccurate. St Neots almost claimed half time bragging rights when Joe Tarpey moved up to supplement the attack just before the break but his well hit shot from around thirty yards passed narrowly over the bar.
The second half began as something of a disappointment. A series of substitutions and bookings for minor offences spoiled any semblance of continuity although Hasanally shot just wide after good approach play out of defence by Harvey Beckett whilst at the other end Greygoose had to dive full length to claim a low shot by Jack Bowen. He also saved well from Gosnel-Tyler but with play largely confined to midfield there were few direct openings for either side. The Daventry substitutions saw two attacking players added to their line up and as the match reached its latter stages, they had just the better of possession. Then after 81 minutes from that late significant corner Jack Bowen made no mistake from the penalty spot with home skipper Callum Anderson booked for his protests at the decision. In the few minutes that remained Saleem Akanbi had St Neots best opportunity to salvage a point but his finish from a Manny Osei corner passed the wrong side of a post. St Neots now go on to a difficult away weekend fixture at title favourites Halesowen Town.
Tonight’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – Harvey Beckett
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