NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE – MIDLAND DIVISION
St Neots Town 3 Cambridge City 2
After 64 minutes of this Boxing Day Derby, the points looked to be heading back along the A428 as Cambridge City had built a seemingly match winning 2-0 lead, however, the game was turned on it’s head by an inspired substitution by manager Pete Gill, replacing the largely ineffective Manny Osei with fit again youngster Dan Barton, who was to play an integral part in what could turn out to be an important win for the Saints as they look to climb away from the danger zone in the Midland Division.
Once again the Saints Squad was light on numbers due to injuries but we welcomed back Centre Half Tom Dickens who had resigned on a dual registration from National League side Cheshunt and he slotted in alonside makeshift centre half Panny Boxer.
The match couldnt have begun any worse for the home side as the visitors took the lead in the 3rd minute as slack defending from City’s first corner allowed Jarid Robson to head home at the far post totally unmarked and Saints looked to hit back straight away as Manny Osei dragged our first effort on goal wide of the mark three minutes later. only a smart save from Jamie Greygoose prevented City extending their lead after 7 minutes, palming a well placed lob around the post for a corner. in the 30th minute, another free header on the edge of the box gave City another chance to double the lead but Ofusu didn’t hit the target however just three minutes later they did capitalise, when former Saint Jake Battersby was allowed to maraud down the left and he fired home past the helpless Greygoose.
The second half begun with City replacing Ingrey with Tom Waulmsley who must have oicked up a knock in that opening half but in the 50th minute, Saints had a golden oppurtunity to get themselves back in the game when a ball was played over the top and both Njoku and Osei were clean through but it was the latter who was to get on the end of the ball and as he closed in on goal, his effort beat the onrushing Welch but rebounded from the right hand upright. Good interplay between Rider and Charles saw the latter slid in on goal but the visiting custodian saved well from Charles’s effort.
Young Cambridge loanee Dan Barton entered the frey in the 64th minute after recovering from injury, replacing Osei and from this point onwards, he was to terrorise the visiting back four with his sublime dribbling skills and direct approach and it was no real surprise that just a minute later, JOE RIDER provided the now resurgant Saints a foothold in the game, dispatching a low drive past the dispairing dive of Welch.
Panny Boxer almost restored parity to the scoreline in the 73rd minute but his header from a Hook corner was deflected wide and in the process he clashed heads with Ofosu but after treatment, both players were able to continue. Next to follow was the two minute spell that was to effectively give St Neots Town the valuable three points. In the 73rd minute, the dangerous Barton set off on one of his mazy dribbling forays through the middle and he spotted TREY CHARLES free on the right and delivered a sublime through ball for the striker to run on and unleash an unstoppable finish to level the scores. Better was yet to come and just a minute later, the in-form BRANDON NJOKU escaped the shackles of the Lilywhites back line and as he sped away down the left flank, he dispached what was to be the winner past a shell shocked Welch in the City goal to spark jubilant scenes among the players, dugout and of course the majority of the 347 paying spectators around the pitch.
St Neots must now build on this victory as the look to climb away from the relegation trapdoor, beginning with a trip to Hinckley LR on Monday 2nd January.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the March – Trey Charles
St Neots Town: Greygoose, Lewis, Smith, Anderson (c), Boxer, Dickens, Osei, Hook, Charles, Rider, Njoku
Subs: Barton (for Osei 64 mins), Barnett (for Hook 90 mins), and Abbott.
Goals: Rider (65 mins), Charles (73 mins), Njoku (74 mins)
Cambridge City: Welch, Akubuine, Miles, Maynard, Ofusu, Parr (c), Battersby, Swinton, Ingrey, Robson, Cotton
Subs: Waulmsley (for Ingrey 46 mins), Gothard (for Maynard 71 mins), Nolan (for Battersby 73 mins) Doorbar-Baptiste and Olukamni.
Cards: Swinton (Y – 45 mins), Cotton (Y – 90 mins),
Goals: Robson (3 mins), Battersby (34 mins)
Referee: Joe Woolmer