NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE – MIDLAND DIVISION
Daventry Town 1 St Neots Town 1
As these two sides scramble for survival at the wrong end of the league table this result was what neither wanted. St Neots maintained their one-point advantage over their hosts leaving them in the second automatic relegation spot above Yaxley, but it is a long way to go for both sides, if their places at step four next season is guaranteed. St Neots began the match well and scored first but conceded a goal in first half added time and a victory could gone to either side if a second goal could have been found. St Neots had to introduce a new goalkeeper with Jamie Greygoose having departed for his new life in Australia and they were pleased to secure the services of James Goff from neighbours St Ives. He had a very promising debut looking confident and assured under pressure and there were three other changes to the starting line-up. Dan Barton, Robbie Mason and Brandon Njoku came into the side for Charlie Johnson (unavailable) and Joe Rider and Manny Osei, both of who started on the substitutes bench.
St Neots began well and should have made their first half possession and chances count. That was despite suffering an early setback when after just five minutes influential midfielder Liam Hook was forced off with an injury earning the perpetrator a booking. He was replaced by Manny Osei. New goalkeeper James Goff was in early action saving at the feet of Kai O’Keefe and there was concern when Brandon Njoku was injured but was able to continue after lengthy on-field treatment. St Neots then settled and Robbie Mason saw an effort deflected for a corner and a couple of lengthy throws from Aaron Smith caused last ditch clearances from the home defence. Then on the half hour Trey Charles won his way to the bye line and set up Brandon Njoku (pictured right) to open the scoring for the visitors. Tom Lorraine could have levelled the scores soon after, but he shot wide after good work by Mungo Bridge. Goff saved well from an O’Keefe free kick and Njoku fired over the bar at the other end and the same player shot wide after good work by Callum Anderson. As the half time break approached both Dan Barton and Charles both had chances but shot wide and then deep into first half added time a lengthy throw by Lewis Burgess was not defended and Josh Endall levelled the scores.
It was the visitors who began the second half better. The lively O’Keefe shot wide after a swift build up from defence and then the home side opted for a change sending on George Herbert to replace Jack Bowen. He was quickly in action firing wide with his first touch before Manny Osei also shot wide after Charlie Lewis had set up a St Neots’ attack from the back. With the home side now enjoying the better possession St Neots were guilty of putting pressure on themselves by conceding too many free kicks and from one of these Goff saved well from Tom Lorraine. O’Keefe continued to torment the St Neots defence and from one of his corners Dan Barton cleared off the line and in a bid to freshen up the visiting attack St Neots sent on Joe Rider for the limping Njoku. With his first touch Rider saw an effort deflected over the crossbar and St Neots finished strongly with Barton seeing a shot deflected after good work by Anderson.
In the end, Neots were unable to avenge an earlier 1-2 home defeat by their Northamptonshire hosts and had tpo settle for a share of the spoils.
Tonight’s Travelling Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to skipper CALLUM ANDERSON
St Neots Town: Goff, Duncliffe, Smith, Anderson, Dickens, Lewis, Barton, Hook, Mason, Njoku, Charles
Subs: Osei (for Hook 5 mins), Rider (for Njoku 78 mins), Smyth, and Sylvester
Cards: Smith (Y – 36 mins), Mason (Y – 42 mins)
Goal: Njoku (30 mins)
Daventry Town: Patching, Print, Burgess, Endall, Wilson, Nketia, Ball, Bridge, Bowen, Lorraine, O’Keefe
Subs: Herbert (for Bowen 52 mins), Masiri, Kille, and Magagada
Cards: Nketia (Y – 5 mins), Endall (Y – 71 mins)
Goal: Endall (45+3 mins)
Referee: Minesh Gupta (Leicester)