ST NEOTS TOWN         4           COVENTRY UNITED         2         

Two goals behind in the opening half hour St Neots roared back to score two goals in each half to round off their league season with a morale boosting victory. With March Town United drawing at home with league runners-up Racing Club Warwick (whom they will now play again in next week’s play-off semi-final), it means that St Neots finished fourth in the final league table on goal difference superiority and will now travel to third placed Aylestone Park in their initial play-off match. The result of the match turned on a penalty decision in St Neots favour and two second half goals from substitute Nabil Shariff. St Neots had recorded their biggest away league victory earlier in the season at Coventry winning 6-0 but there was never going to be a repeat of that scoreline although six goals were scored. St Neots were almost back to full strength for this match with Christian Tavernier, Charlie Bowen and skipper James Hatch all returning to the starting line-up.

It was a match full of end-to-end football with St Neots looking vulnerable to Coventry’s swift attacking moves on the break whilst failing to profit from a much greater share of possession. An early Jordan Brown effort tested Seb Osment and then Rhys Thorpe played James Hatch clear, but the visiting keeper saved with his legs.  Magloire Muyembe then collected a return pass from Connor Furlong but sent his effort over the crossbar. Coventry’s first attempt on goal after 20 minutes saw Harry Wilson fire over the bar and then Joe Blowers saw his shot deflected. Furlong shot narrowly wide and after 25 minutes against the run of play the visitors took the lead as the lively Joe Blowers took advantage of a deflection off a defender to open the scoring. If that shocked the home side worse was to follow two minutes later when under pressure from a short back pass, James Goff mis-hit a clearance straight to Joe Blowers who stroked the ball into the unguarded net for a 2-0 lead for the visitors. It took just three minutes for St Neots to respond because when James Hatch was upended in the penalty area, St Neots leading scorer Jordan Brown (left) stepped up to net his penalty at the second attempt after Osment had blocked his first effort, Furlong them had a rising effort deflected and St Neots were lucky not to concede a third goal three minutes before the break when Blowers almost completed his hat trick but Charlie Bowen got back to scrape the ball off the line with his keeper beaten. Relieved St Neots went up the other end and a Magloire Muyembe shot was deflected past his keeper by Ethan Baynham to put the home side on even terms at the break.

Goff made amends for his earlier error just three minutes after the restart with a brilliant reflex save to deny Karabo Motshwen who had gone clear of the defence and there was a further let off for St Neots when Daniel Cassidy fired over the bar when well placed. However, that spell of pressure on the home defence eased as Christian Tavernier forced a fingertip save from Osment who pushed his stinging effort onto the crossbar whilst at the other end Charlie Stanton broke free to test Goff. It was end-to-end now as both sides searched for a breakthrough with St Neots varying their approach with Michael Amaeshike and Nabil Shariff on in place of Muyembe and Thorpe. This change was to prove a match winning move with the decisive goals coming from the substitute. Bowen thought he should have had a penalty when brought down as he made for goal, but play was waved on and after 70 minutes St Neots got their breakthrough when from a Murphy Culkin free kick Nabil Shariff (left) scored a third St Neots goal with a perfectly placed glancing header. Now St Neots took charge and an off-balance Hatch contrived to head over the bar from five yards, and a Dammy Nickels free kick was acrobatically pushed over the bar by Osment.  A fourth goal for St Neots, again from Nabil Shariff settled the outcome five minutes from time with Hatch denying Blowers his hat trick late on with a brave save at the Coventry man’s feet.

So, St Neots’ superior goal difference saw them finish fourth in the final league table and they head to Aylestone Park next Saturday, 20th April – 3pm Kick Off.

 

Rank Teams Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Goal difference Points Current form
1 Wellingborough Town 38 29 5 4 92 32 60 92 WWWWW
2 Racing Club Warwick 38 24 8 6 90 44 46 80 DLWWD
3 Aylestone Park 38 25 5 8 103 60 43 80 LWWLW
4 St Neots Town FC 38 22 9 7 74 35 39 75 LLWWW
5 March Town United 38 22 9 7 69 40 29 75 WWDWD
6 Newport Pagnell Town 37 19 5 13 70 53 17 59 WWDLD
7 Yaxley FC 37 16 8 13 76 60 16 56 LLDDW
8 GNG Oadby Sports 38 16 7 15 74 89 -15 55 DWLLW

 

Today’s Saints Supporters’ an of the Match, kindly sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry – CONNOR FURLONG

 

 

 

 

 

St Neots Town:   Goff, Nickels, Culkin, Tavernier, Brookes, Bowen, Brown, Muyembe, Thorpe, Hatch, Furlong

Subs: Amaeshike (for Muyembe 65 mins), Shariff (for Thorpe 65 mins), Ajana (for Furlong 89 mins), Dummett (for Tavernier ,89 mins), and George.

Cards:  none

 

Coventry United:   Osment, Wilson, Oka-Zeh, Nicholson, Baynham, Mollinson, Dube, Motshwen, Cassidy, Stanton, Blowers

Subs:   McGrory (for Stanton 70 mins), Whalley (for Motshwen 81 mins), Glaznieks (for Cassidy 83 mins), Nugent, and Merrick.

Cards:   Oka-Zeh (Y – 40 mins), Dube (Y – 69 mins), Wilson (Y – 77 mins)

Attendance: 309

Referee:  Laura Van Lier (Gosberton, Lincs)

 

 

 (John Walker)