MARCH TOWN 0 ST NEOTS TOWN 1
In a hard-fought match between the two unbeaten teams at the top of the league table St Neots came out winners after a tactical second half battle. Having led by a goal to nil at the break, Manager Cameron Mawer manipulated his side in the second half to repel all the best efforts of a determined host side that only surrendered their 100% league record reluctantly. The Manager made just the one change from his winning midweek line-up restoring the fit-again Harvey Williams to the side for Sam Johnson and significantly it was the returning player that claimed the match-winning goal. Skilfully defensively marshalled by skipper Kyle Lincoln, St Neots had to pull out all the stops to retain their unbeaten record with goalkeeper James Goff producing two breathtaking saves as the home side piled on the pressure in the closing minutes of the second half.
St Neots put themselves in pole position with a fifteenth minute goal – the first fired in anger at either end. Receiving the ball around the half-way line the speedy Harvey Williams beat his marker around the outside before cutting in a to fire a low shot just inside the near post past former St Neots keeper Jonah Gill. Other than that highlight, the first 25 minutes were a tactical battle between two sides prepared to probe patiently in search of an opening but with both defences firm and confident there was little goalmouth action. The first notable attempt on goal by the home side came after 26 minutes when a Craig Gillies effort was wide of its target. St Neots then thought they should have had a penalty when Tom Rowley tumbled in the penalty area but the Referee waved play on. Former Saint Declan Rogers shot over the bar but then March lost central defender Danny Emmington stretchered off after sustaining a knee injury. At the end of the first half both Vitor Vaz and Josh Burrows were both wide of the target for March with efforts from set piece attacks.
After a Burrows header had rebounded from the crossbar at the start of the second half, St Neots decided to alter their tactics towards a more defensive stance, and they took off striker Lorrell Smith introducing Dean Dummett in a strengthened midfield with the hardworking James Hatch left to forage up front. James Goff had to be at his best to keep out a close-range effort from Matty Foy and then he distinguished himself further with a top notch save to deny Jack Saunders, the most dangerous home player. Up front Hatch had a net bound volley blocked by a defender and then Sam Green squandered a good March chance shooting wide when well placed. The home side’s best chance of a late equaliser was denied by Goff when he turned a Vaz header from a corner around a post at full stretch. Substitute Dom Lawless was close to a second St Neots goal in the final moments.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match, kindly sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry, was awarded to JAMES HATCH
St Neots Town: Goff, Kalek, Nickels, Brown, George, Lincoln, Rowley, Muyembe, Smith, Hatch, Williams
Subs: Dummett (for Smith 51 mins), Reynolds (for Rowley 71 mins), Ajana (for Williams 78 mins), Lawless (for Hatch 85 mins), and Johnson.
Cards: Muyembe (sinbinned 58 mins)