Photo Courtesy of @pitchside_bp
Needham Market 4 St Neots Town 0
On a very hot afternoon St Neots were well beaten by their Step Three hosts who are still basking in their historic FA Trophy run earlier in the year. Manager Pete Gill professed himself satisfied with the outcome and performance saying “the only way we can bed in our new squad is to compete with sides better than ourselves”.
The match was not as one-way as the score line suggests. The home side were defensively very good snuffing out the better St Neots openings with ease but with both squads containing more triallists than named players, with several still on holiday, it was difficult to assess their true potential.
St Neots began well taking the game to their hosts but then suffered an early setback when after just six minutes a smart finish from outside the box gave the hosts the lead. St Neots hit back and after the home keeper had made one save, he injured himself attempting at full stretch to keep out a wayward back pass. It was towards the end of the first half that two further Needham goals in a period of ninety seconds effectively determined the outcome of the match. The first was a well taken goal from a set piece and the second arrived when a ball over the top of a square lying defence let in Taylor Clark for Needham’s third goal.
Half time brought the customary swap of personnel by both sides and the home side added a further goal ten minutes after the restart when a direct free kick from the edge of the area was bent around the defensive wall and in off a post. The home side them made further wholesale changes and St Neots began to compete more convincingly but found it difficult to find the final pass in attack. Late drama saw the home side awarded a penalty kick but that was placed wide of goal and following a corner the home side had the ball in the net once more, but the effort was ruled out for a foul on the St Neots goalkeeper and this proved to be the last notable action of the game.