St Neots Town         1           Chasetown         1

A dramatic goal in added time from St Neots substitute Andre Hasanally ensured that the points were shared in St Neots debut in the Northern Premier League. That outcome had seemed most unlikely when Pete Gill’s side were reduced to ten men on the hour when central defender Charlie Stallard picked up a straight red card for an injudicious challenge on visiting striker Jonathan Letford, who was heading for goal having slipped the home defence. However, with commendable determination in the afternoon heat, St Neots persevered and more than held their own despite the numbers’ imbalance and were rewarded when the visiting keeper fumbled Hasanally’s narrow angled shot.   Visiting Chasetown, having lost out on promotion in last season’s play offs, were amongst the bookie’s early favourites for promotion this time but St Neots just about deserved their point in this initial skirmish in their new surroundings. Midfielder Declan Nche missed the game having picked up an injury in the FA Cup match, so Robbie Mason came in to lead the attack with Stallard making his debut in place of Brandon Njoku who was on the bench.

St Neots created the first chance after four minutes with Charlie Stallard volleying over the bar from a Trey Charles free kick.   At the other end home custodian Jamie Greygoose produced a diving one handed save to deny Jack Edwards and visiting striker Jonathan Letford produced a burst of speed to cut through the St Neots defence before firing over the bar. As the first half settled the visitors were enjoying the better of play with Edwards finding the side netting and Liam Kirton firing over the bar from distance. Greygoose then had to produce an instinctive save to deny Luke Yates whilst St Neots main attacking moves seemed to break down on the edge of the opponent’s penalty area. Trey Charles did find a way through the visiting defence, but his finish was the wrong side of a goalpost and then a Robbie Mason effort was blocked by a defender.   Then three minutes before the break a long cross from the left by Zack Foster found the tall Daniel O’Callaghan in space between defenders and his looping header was beyond the reach of the home keeper to afford the visitors a half time lead. In the little time before the break Charles who had been St Neots’ most threatening player brought an important save from the visiting keeper.

St Neots enjoyed their best spell having returned from their half time break. Mason had a close range shot blocked by a defender after clever play by Joe Tarpey and Dan Barton and on 55 minutes a cross from Barton saw a Charles header rebound from a goalpost. Another Barton cross found the head of Mason who forced a fingertip save from Curtis Pond. However, that spell of St Neots pressure came to an abrupt end when the speedy Letford wriggled clear of the defence to be brought down from behind by Stallard. That earned him a red card and left St Neots reorganising their defence with Charlie Lewis moving to the heart of the defence and Tarpey slotting in at full back. St Neots sent on Andre Hasanally and Saleem Akanbi for Mason and Manny Osei as they looked to regroup and for a spell the visitors looked in control.   Letward headed wide from a Foster cross when well-placed and then there was to be a dramatic ending with both sides creating openings. With a minute left in normal time a surprise shot from Luke Yates rebounded from the outside of a goalpost and St Neots broke away three minutes later with Charlie Lewis sending Andre Hasanally in on goal from the right flank. His narrow-angled shot seemed to be covered by the visiting goalkeeper but he saw the ball wriggle through his hands into the net to give St Neots their share of the points.


Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – Kindly Sponsored by The Dodson Family – DAN BARTON

St Neots: Greygoose, Lewis, Smith, Anderson, Stallard, Adeyemi, Barton, Tarpey, Mason, Charles, Osei.

Subs: Hasanally (for Mason 66 mins), Akanbi (for Osei 66 mins), Njoku, Stainsby and Bent.

Cards: Stallard (RED -59 mins), Mason (Y – 47 mins)

Goal: Hasanally (90 + 3 mins)

Chasetown: Pond, Mansell, Foster, Unwin, Wynter, Hayward, Edwards, Yates, Letford, O’Callaghan, Kirton.

Subs: Botfield (for Hayward 73 mins), Lund (for Edwards 76 mins), Clarke (for O’Callaghan 82 mins), Evans and Taylor.

Cards: Hayward (Y – 7 mins), Mansell (Y – 84 mins)

Goal: O’Callaghan 42 (mins)

Referee: Zac Kennard-Kettle (Oakham)

John Walker