United Counties League Premier Division South
COVENTRY UNITED 0 ST NEOTS TOWN 6
St Neots produced their best performance of the season to record their highest UCL victory since their return from Step Four. In theory, travelling to play a side that in the past month had beaten Wellingborough and Newport Pagnell at home and Daventry away was a big test but the visitors rose to the occasion and swept away a pallid second half performance by the home side. They had to regroup pre-match after suffering the loss of two key defenders with skipper Kyle Lincoln (unavailable) and full back Dammy Nickells injured but they brought back Tommy Reynolds and included Robbie Parker on loan from Biggleswade Town and both settled in quickly. The newcomers looked confident throughout and goalkeeper James Goff ensured the clean sheet with several important saves.
The home side began well and looked the better in the opening ten minutes or so. Joe Blowers shot wide when well-placed and James Goff had to smother bravely at the feet of Mitch Mollinson. Gradually the balance of play shifted,and St Neots announced their intention when Jordan Brown and Rhys Thorpe combined to prise open the home defence to lay on a 14th minute opening goal for James Hatch (left). Harvey Williams was terrorising the home defence down the right flank, and he twice tested home keeper Harvey Randle before setting up Rhys Thorpe who volleyed disappointingly over the bar from six yards. After 34 minutes a clearance by Goff was headed on by Hatch to free up Jordan Brown (right) but as he bore down on goal, he was upended to earn a penalty kick which he took himself to double the lead. Right-on half-time Goff did well at full stretch to save from Blowers.
There was never any suggestion that St Neots would settle back to defend their two goals advantage and after 10 minutes Jordan Brown increased the lead with a direct free kick. Briefly the home side rallied, and Goff saved a header fromAlex Vinehall and a rasping shot from home substitute Samir Muzaffar. From a Murphy Culkin free kick, a Rhys Thorpe header was well saved by the home custodian and then Goff produced his best save of the match full length to deny Stan Dube. However, the pressure on the home defence was increasing and St Neots added three further goals in the final ten minutes. Rhys Thorpe (above left) deservedly scored twice in three minutes – just reward for his tireless performance and substitute Ayo Akinbobola (right) on the pitch for just five minutes celebrated with a first goal for the club. It was an impressive al-round performance that cemented St Neots position in the table just behind the leading pair and now there will be a Rowley Park showdown next as league leaders Wellingborough Town visit on Saturday.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – kindly sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry – Jordan Brown
St Neots Town: Goff, Reynolds, Culkin, Tavernier, Brookes, Parker, Jordan Brown, Dummett, Thorpe, Hatch, Williams
Subs: Muyembe (for Dummett 69 mins), Rowley (for Williams 76 mins), Josh Brown (for Tavernier 79 mins), Ajana (for Jordan Brown 88mins), Akinbobola (for Thorpe 89 mins)
Coventry United: Randle, Bambah, Oka-Zeh, Vinehall, Baynham, Bolton, Dube, Wilson, Miles, Mollinson, Blowers
Subs: Muzaffar (for Oka-Zeh 46 mins), Merrick (for Mollison 46
mins), Motshweni (for Bolton 56 mins), Morgan and Cassidy.
Referee: Callum Lockley (Leicester)