YAXLEY 2 ST NEOTS TOWN 2
For the sixth time in a row St Neots returned from neighbours Yaxley without winning – their record now shows three draws and three defeats during that sequence. The two sides had earlier drawn their first league meeting this season at St Neots. However, having found themselves two goals in arrears at the break, the visitors will have been pleased not to have returned home empty-handed. It was the traditional game of two halves with Yaxley dominant in the first half as the visitors squandered their chances, but they made up for it in the first twenty minutes after the break producing a stunning comeback. The St Neots player most relieved by the result will be goalkeeper James Goff who had gifted the home side their second goal. There were two St Neots team changes with Malaki Black returning for the absent Kyle Lincoln and Magloire Muyembe preferred to Jamal Batchilly in midfield.
It was a game that moved from end to end for the full ninety minutes and there could have been many more goals but for some stout play by both defences. Apart from one early effort by Ryley Nicholson-Barfoot for the home side, it was St Neots who made the early running with Dean Dummett heading narrowly over the bar, James Hatch seeing Finlay Henderson clearing his effort off the goal line, and Harvey Williams firing narrowly wide after neat play by Malaki Black. Yaxley hit back with Matthew Harris-Hercules squandering a good opening and Lil Francisco shooting wide. After 28 minutes the home side took the lead when a good solo finish from Ryley Nicholson-Barfoot after cutting in from the left flank left the St Neots keeper stranded. Worse was to follow for James Goff because eight minutes later he left his goal area in an attempt to clear only to present the ball to Matthew Harris-Hercules who was able to lift the ball into the unguarded net. Prior to the second goal James Hatch had seen a low shot rebound from the woodwork but after having had the better first half chances St Neots went to the break two goals behind.
The second half was a different story. St Neots came out to totally dominate the first twenty minutes and with Jamal Batchilly on for Dummett they created several good openings prior to scoring twice in five minutes to level the scores around the hour mark. The first goal almost mirrored the one gifted to Yaxley in the first half as home keeper Conor Barton mishit a clearance straight to James Hatch (L) and he lobbed the ball into the net to spark the recovery. Then with Yaxley reeling an accurately placed free kick by Dammy Nickels (R) levelled the scores. That second setback seemed to spur the home side who hit back with Nicholson-Barfoot twice testing the visiting keeper. Barton atoned for his error with a brave save at the feet of Rhys Thorpe and he then twisted in the air to touch another Nickels effort for a corner. Although St Neots finished strongly, they could not find a winning goal.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – kindly sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry – NATHAN GEORGE