NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE – MIDLAND DIVISION
St Neots Town 2 Corby Town 0
After a wait of almost three months St Neots Town recorded only their second home victory of the current campaign and on the strength of play and possession their victory could have been greater. The visitors, sixth in the table with only one away league defeat this season, were easily brushed aside and but for an outstanding display by visiting keeper Jason Alexander, the margin of defeat could have been much more emphatic. St Neots displayed a degree of confidence and control not previously seen this season and managed to shrug off the first half injury loss of central defender Steve Sylvester with Panny Boxer slotted in to substitute. He was one of two players rested from the previous match along with Manny Osei who was unwell and their places in the starting line-up were taken by Joe Rider and Declan Nche. Making his club debut as a second half substitute was striker Liam Smyth signed in the week from neighbours Biggleswade Town.
From the start St Neots looked determined and skipper Callum Anderson tested the visiting keeper as early as the second minute. The home side then conceded a free kick and home keeper Jamie Greygoose was in action saving Michael Jacklin’s effort well. Then after nine minutes Trey Charles displayed a great change of pace to round the final defender and when his shot was parried Brandon Njoku was on hand to put the ball in the unguarded net. Once ahead St Neots looked comfortable as Liam Hook and Charles both had efforts well saved by the visiting keeper. Then after 21 minutes a second goal – almost a repeat of the first – put St Neots well in control. The goal came from a move through the centre of the park as Charles once again worked his way clear and when Jason Alexander could not hold his fierce finish, Brandon Njoku again was in position to take full advantage. Daniel Collins shot over the bar for the visitors and Greygoose had to produce a reaction save to keep out a close- range effort from a corner but St Neots looked well in control. A Joe Rider shot was well saved at the expense of a corner and then he saw a second effort pushed over the crossbar and in first half added time Charles went clear again forcing Alexander to save bravely at his feet.
Liam Smyth replaced Rider just after the break and his first touch fed Charles whose effort beat the keeper but deflected off the far post. Looking for his hat trick, Njoku shot narrowly wide and then from a lengthy throw by Aaron Smith the ball was headed on for the keeper to push the ball away via a goalpost. St Neots continued to enjoy the bulk of possession and attacking play, but the visiting defence looked resolute, and many openings were snuffed out. The visiting keeper was again in action pushing away another effort from Njoku and from midfield Declan Nche burst through only for his effort to be deflected for another corner. Corby were then reduced to ten men when Scott Floyd picked up a second yellow card and despite the visitors mounting a late all-out attack, the St Neots defence never looked like being breached. Charles had deserved some reward for his constant tormenting of the visiting defence but his final chance five minutes from time was blocked rather than saved by the visiting keeper. Just before time St Neots sent on substitute Robbie Mason for his first appearance since mid-October, finishing with three strikers on the pitch.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to BRANDON NJOKU
St Neots Town: Greygoose, Duncliffe, Smith, Anderson, Lewis, Sylvester, Hook, Nche, Charles, Rider, Njoku
Subs: Boxer (for Sylvester 31 mins), Smyth (for Rider 46 mins), Mason (for Njoku 87 mins) Barnett and Goumou.
Goals: Njoku 2 (9 & 21 mins)
Corby Town: Alexander, Thomas, Floyd, Burrows, Gordon, Jacklin, Molyneaux, Matthews, Florian, Collins, Arthur
Subs: Furey (for Arthur 62 mins), Norman (for Jacklin 80 mins), Maddison, Hartley and Slinn.
Cards: Floyd (RED – 2Y – 20 & 80 mins), Arthur (Y – 46 mins), Jacklin (Y – 66 mins), Gordon (Y – 86 mins)
Referee: Mark Simmons (Ramsey)