A first victory in six league and cup matches came as a relief to St Neots who had dropped into the relegation zone of the league table prior to this match. An own goal and a well taken second just after the break gave them the platform for this victory that lifted them up three places in the table, but they had to absorb a late period of pressure to return home with the points. Manager Pete Gill decided to reshape his side playing an extra defender in a 5-3-2 formation and with only one goal conceded – that from a corner, his gamble certainly paid dividends. His changes saw leading scorer Trey Charles start on the bench along with Andre Hasanally and with Dan Barton injured again, the three players that came into the side were Toib Adeyemi, Declan Nche fit after injury, and new signing full back Patrick Campbell.
The contest began in dramatic fashion when after just four minutes in the first significant attacking action of the match St Neots won a corner. Aaron Smith’s searching cross appeared to clear the players at the near post and went in off the home goalkeeper’s legs for a strange opening goal. That seemed to settle the visitors’ nerves, although their revised line-up allowed the home side territorial possession in midfield. From an Albie Lansdown free kick Ellis Everard had a close range shot blocked and Adam Garmson should have done better than shoot wide after a good move by the home side. St Neots were always threatening from long throws by Aaron Smith into the penalty area and Saleem Akanbi had a shot blocked after neat work by Declan Nche. Then after half an hour debutant defender Patrick Campbell brough down Ellis Evans as he raced into the area and a penalty kick was awarded. Evans himself took the kick but visiting keeper Jamie Greygoose guessed right to save the kick. Alex Morris was sent clear on goal, but he sent his finish wide and then Manny Osei was fouled, and he seemed to retaliate but the Referee smoothed things over without resorting to his notebook. He did however book Toib Adeyemi on the stroke of half time for a tackle when the St Neots defender appeared to have won the ball fairly.
Each side made a change at half time and with three minutes St Neots had extended their lead. Nche won a corner which was not cleared by the home defence and through a packed penalty area Robbie Mason struck a hard low shot past the unsighted home keeper to claim his first goal of the campaign. That signalled a determined counter-offensive by the home side and after 58 minutes from a Kane Lee corner, Alby Lansdown beat the visiting keeper with a well-struck shot to level the scores. St Neots sent on top scorer Trey Charles in a bid to boost their attack and he was quickly in action testing Lewis Fenny inn the home goal. Then after 72 minutes Greygoose had to produce the save of the match full length to keep out a low effort from Lee. Home skipper Kieran Wells squandered his sides’ best chance of an equaliser heading over the bar from close range and Charles twice had chances to confirm St Neots victory but the second time he was hauled down earning a red card for home defender Levi Read. A result for St Neots that replicated a 2010 FA Vase result on the same ground.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to DECLAN NCHE
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