United Counties League Premier Division South
ST NEOTS TOWN 3 LEICESTER NIRVANA 0
With the results elsewhere going in their favour, St Neots moved up three places in the table to sit in third place behind joint leaders Racing Club Warwick and Wellingborough Town. Although visitors Leicester Nirvana are bottom of the table and still searching for their first away league victory of the season, they produced a spirited performance and only two second half goals gave the final scoreline the air of respectability that it deserved. The result gave Cameron Mawer’s side three important points and will have done their confidence no harm. Now with an unbeaten seven matches run behind them their next two matches will severely test their improvement – away at Coventry United and at home to Wellingborough. Two team changes were enforced with Magloire Muyembe serving a one match ban, and defender Nathan George failing a pre-match fitness test. Their places were filled by Chris Tavernier in midfield and a debut start in defence for Ollie Brookes.
St Neots made their best start to a match this season with a goal inside the first two minutes as a cross field ball from Rhys Thorpe found Jordan Brown unmarked on the left and his measured cross found the head of James Hatch (L) who registered his tenth goal of the season to put his side ahead. Fifteen minutes later the score could have doubled when the lively Thorpe went clear of the defence but visiting keeper Niall Shackleton dived bravely at his feet to save. Despite having much the better of play St Neots were profligate in front of goal with Thorpe firing over the bar and Brown bringing a good save from the busy visiting keeper. The visitors tried to respond with Edward Bamfo seeing an effort blocked by a defender, but St Neots continued to dominate in midfield unable to make their superior possession count. Visiting defender Lynas King gifted the ball to Jordan Brown but he shot wide and when Thorpe was upended, St Neots thought they were denied an obvious penalty kick. The lively Harvey Williams had two excellent chances to add to the score, but he delayed his first chance to see his effort blocked and then shot across the face of goal after beating two defenders.
The half time pep talk had the right effect on the home side. They were more purposeful after the break and Shackleton was in constant action denying Williams and Hatch two excellent openings. The visitors responded on the break with Tamar Clayton bringing a good save from James Goff but St Neots was clearly in control and a lengthy effort from Dean Dummett rebounded from the cross bar, Eventually the pressure paid off as after 72 minutes substitute Tom Rowley crossed for James Hatch to net his second goal of the match and nine minutes later the hard-working Rhys Thorpe (R) deservedly added his name to the scoresheet with a close range finish. Two late efforts by Williams could have added to the score but the visiting defence held out to keep the final deficit at 3-0.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match, kindly sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry, was awarded to MURPHY CULKIN
St Neots Town: Goff, Nickels, Culkin, Tavernier, Brookes, Lincoln, Jordan Brown, Dummett, Thorpe, Hatch, Williams
Subs: Rowley (for Jordan Brown 68 mins), Josh Brown (for Tavernier 77 mins), Akinbobola (for Thorpe 86 mins), Reynolds (for Nickells 90 mins), Ajana (for Hatch 90+1 min)
Cards: Nickells (Y – 35 mins), Culkin (Y – 53 mins)