NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE – MIDLANDS DIVISION
Sutton Coldfield 6 St Neots Town 0
St Neots third away trip to the Birmingham area in as many weeks ended in a disappointing heavy defeat although the final score line did not accurately reflect the contest. For half an hour in each half St Neots were more than equal to their hosts but curiously conceded three quick goals in that last quarter of an hour of each half. Their hosts who had famously dumped league leaders Halesowen out of the FA Trophy in their last home game were sharper and produced a display of exceptional finishing to record this comprehensive victory. St Neots were without two central defenders due to injury and unavailability and so had to resort to moving striker Robbie Mason back to centre half – an experiment that did not come off. The defence conceded two careless goals just before the break and although they recovered well, that final onslaught with two home substitutes adding the three late goals was something to reflect on in the long midweek trip back home. Dan Barton returned to the side after injury replacing the injured Charlie Stallard in the reshaped line-up, but a recurrence of that injury forced him off early in the second half.
Although St Neots defended quite well in the very early stages repelling efforts by Ceesay Dampha, Rhys Hiton and Trea Bertie with visiting keeper Jamie Greygoose in constant action. They then settled with Trey Charles sending an Andre Hasanally free kick over the bar and Charles set up Saleem Akanbi who forced home keeper Jonathan Brown to dive bravely at his feet to smother the shot. However, after 31 minutes the home side took the lead with a slick move as Cameron Collins played Rhys Hilton clear and he made no mistake. Two minutes later, poor defending let in James Spruce for a second goal from a Hilton cross. St Neots tried to respond as Charles had a shot blocked but a killer goal a minute before the break set up Sutton Coldfield for an inevitable victory. With no danger in sight Hasanally was too easily dispossessed in midfield by Collins who set up Trea Bernie for a simple finish and a 3-0 half time lead for his side.
St Neots came out after the break in a much more determined frame of mind. Jaydyn Lott headed narrowly over the bar from a corner and then with substitute Jack Brewer on for the limping Dan Barton they took the game to their hosts. Hasanally had a net bound shot blocked by a defender and Charles shot wide after good approach play by Aaron Smith. Akanbi tested the home keeper as St Neots were clearly looking to repair that late first half damage. However, a brace of substitutions by the home side saw them regain their attacking mojo. Within a couple of minutes after their introduction Stuart Hendrie set up fellow substitute Sam Ellis for a finish that seemed to shatter St Neots confidence after 79 minutes and then the third home change brought on Fortune Maphosa and he set up Hendrie for a fifth home goal with almost his first touch. Home keeper Brown then denied Akanbi a late consolation goal for the visitors and Hendrie then claimed his second goal two minutes from time to complete the rout.
Tonight’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was awarded to Jamie Greygoose