NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE – MIDLAND DIVISION
St Neots Town 3 Shepshed Dynamo 3
St Neots staged a magnificent recovery to score three goals in a ten minutes spell just before the final whistle to claim an unlikely but thoroughly deserved league point in their first match for three weeks. The match had looked to be a carbon copy of the first meeting of the two sides just eight weeks ago when Shepshed had sprinted into a 3-0 half time lead. On that occasion St Neots had managed just a single Trey Charles goal in reply but on this occasion a Charles penalty was the springboard for an outstanding response. Two further late goals earned St Neots a valuable reward, but with Daventry winning their bottom of the table scrap with Yaxley, St Neots returned to nineteenth place in the league table. With the victorious Cambridge United loanees unavailable for selection there were just two team changes with skipper Callum Anderson back from injury to replace George Hoddle and Robbie Mason was recalled in place of Dan Barton.
In an uninspiring first half St Neots created two early chances as from a corner by Liam Hook, Trey Charles fired in a low shot inside the near post that visiting keeper Brandon Ganley saved at full stretch, and Manny Osei tested the keeper but they were almost the only first half occasions that the visiting custodian was in serious action. Shepshed then produced the perfect response scoring twice with their only serious attempts on the home goal in the first half hour. After 15 minutes Toby Ritzema turned in the box to fire home a fierce drive in off the underside of the crossbar to open the scoring, and on the half hour from a James Sneddon corner, visiting skipper Jake Betts was left unmarked to head home to extend the lead. Zayn Hakeem had two chances to further extend the lead but was twice off target as the home defence afforded him too much room and St Neots keeper Jamie Greygoose produced an important save from another Sneddon corner punching away under pressure. Then a minute before the break John King exchanged passes with Reece Morris to add a third goal and leave St Neots with a mountain to climb.
Just one team change at the break with Jon-Paul Duncliffe replacing Manny Osei seemed to transform St Neots. Robbie Mason shot over when well placed and both sides had offside efforts chalked out. Substitute Kairo Edwards squandered the visitors’ best chance of extending their lead heading wide from close range, and Ganley did well to save from Charles at the second attempt. As the match went into the last eleven minutes St Neiots were awarded a penalty when Aaron Smith made a lung busting run into the area and was brought down by Betts and the reliable Trey Charles gave St Neots hope with the perfect penalty kick.
Just five minutes later, substitute JP Duncliffe exchanged passes wide on the right and cut in to score with a low shot at the near post and now it was all St Neots. Charles was hauled down in the area and the Referee waved away appeals for a penalty, but St Neots were not to be denied. A shot from Callum Anderson was scraped off the goal line by a Shepshed defender but only as far as Trey Charles and he gratefully accepted the opportunity to claim his eighteenth goal of the season to secure his side a point.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match was Awarded To AARON SMITH