St Neots Town        3         Ware FC       4               

Trailing 3-0 after just 26 minutes, St Neots looked destined for a second home defeat of the season, but they fought back doggedly and drew level with just ten minutes remaining. Both teams looked like they would rather not share the points but an inexplicable handball offence by St Neots defender Charlie Johnson presented Ware with a winning goal from the penalty spot with just six minutes remaining. It had been a breathless contest in front of St Neots best home crowd of the season and Ware could hardly believe their good fortune as they were handed the winner after being reduced to ten men ten minutes from time when full back Marcus Milner picked up a second yellow card. St Neots will rue their lack of concentration at either end of a game when they could and should have netted all three points against one of the fancied side in the division. With Charley Barker still injured and Kwai Marsh-Brown unwell, there had to be team changes, so Manager Pete Gill brought back Miles Cowling and Ben Heal, both after injury and handed Jake Battersby his first league start at full back with Wynford Marfo left on the bench.

St Neots made their worst start to a match this season and the visitors must have been pleasantly surprised as they raced into that three goals advantage.  Neither side had mounted a serious attack until the twelfth minute when a fairly innocuous shot to the near post by Taufee Skandari saw home keeper Louis Chadwick allow the ball to slip through his hands and nestle in the net. If that was a shock, worse followed three minutes later when a cross from Robbie Buchanan should have been dealt with, but an attempted clearance struck a St Neots defender to present Leigh Rose with a tap in gift goal. Now St Neots looked stunned and offered very little in reply with Chadwick atoning for his error with a  full-length block to deny Buchanan who had gone clear of the home defence.  After 24 minutes, with Ware looking rampant, he then produced the save of the match at the expense of a corner, to deny Skandari a second goal.   However, the visitors persisted and two minutes later from a Buchanan corner Louis Rose scored the third goal in a goalmouth scramble. To their credit St Neots improved and the fight back was mounted after 39 minutes when a Jake Battersby shot was pushed away. From two yards Neo Richard-Noel managed somehow to hit the post but luckily the ball ran to Ben Heal who pulled a goal back and in their next attack St Neots were really back in contention as Neo Richard-Noel finished off a smooth attacking move involving Battersby and Joe Rider.

The second half was in a way more frustrating than the first for the faithful St Neots fans. Their side dominated possession but could not find a way through a determined packed defence. Myles Cowling tormented the visiting defence, and he was three times upended without punishment for the offender, but his side lacked that important finishing touch. On a rare break visiting substitute Albert Adu-Donyinah shot wide when he should have scored but the final dramatic ten minutes settled the outcome. Marcus Milner brought down Cowling again, earning himself a second yellow card and conceding a penalty which was netted by Neo Richard-Noel, but the sides were only level for four minutes before that unexplained St Neots’ handball offence and Liam Hope’s successful penalty afforded the visitors all three points.


Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to Neo Richard-Noel

St Neots:  Chadwick, Steel, Battersby, Shabani, Johnson, Jobe, Cowling, Watkins, Richard-Noel, Rider, Heal

Subs:  Marfo (for Steel 26 mins), Sartorious (for Rider 69 mins), Gomes, Abbott and Whitehall.

Cards:  Johnson (Y – 84 mins)

Goals:   Neo Richard-Noel (2) (40 mins & 80 mins – pen), Ben Heal (39 mins)

Ware:  Robinson, Milner, Arthur, Leigh Rose, Louis Rose, Kendall, Buchanan, Bruno, Hope, Dupray, Skandari

Subs:  Adu-Donyinah (for Dupray 64 mins), Mulley (for Buchanan 64 mins), Adamson (for Skandari 88 mins), Esprit, and Dulson.

Cards:  Milner (RED – 80 mins – 2 x Y), Bruno (Y – 63 mins)

Goals:  Taufee Skandari (12 min), Leigh Rose (15 min), Louis Rose (26 min), Liam Hope (84 min – pen)


Referee:  Ellis Mills (Market Deeping)

Attendance:   309

John Walker