Saturday 20th September 2008
ST NEOTS TOWN 1, BLOATERS 0
FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round
St Neots – 1 Jon Chatfield, 2 Dean McElroy, 3 Kevin McElroy, 4 Keith Thomas,
5 Ben Dyett, 6 Steve Dogbe (c), 7 Luke Knight, 8 Matt Bannister, 9 Pete Okechuknu, 10 Matt Kenneford, 11 James Hall. Subs:
12 Declan Rogers, 14 Jon Hoggett, 15 Nathan Eno, 16 Ben Cole.
Bloaters – Michael Hilton, 2 Olly Savage, 3 Adam Sewell, 4 Gareth Palmer,
Ager, 6 Alan Darby, 7 Darren Lamb, 8 Adam Sullivan (c), 9 Stewart Roach, 10 Chris Squires, 11 Josť Vide. Subs: 12 Toby Gorbould, 14 Mark Thompson, 15
Liam Bartley, 16 Jake Reed, 17 Elliot Pride.
Referee – Julian Gibbons (Needham
Yarmouth welcomed Alan Darby and Adam Sullivan from holidays, and with Scott Woodcock away this week Josť Vide came in for his first
start of the season. The new Rowley Park
ground in a developing part of St Neots sparkled in the warm autumn sunshine and was a perfect setting for this afternoon’s
game which was kicked off by the Bloaters.
There was early action at both ends with a cross from Lamb being booted away, followed by
a line-clearing header by Palmer in the visitors’ goal. St Neots danger man and leading scorer Okechuknu (nicknamed
Pistol Pete) broke through the middle but his cross went to no-one in particular. K McElroy missed a throughball from Sullivan
allowing Vide to get a shot in but it was much too weak to bother Chatfield. It was a lively opening spell from both teams
and an absorbing contest was in prospect with the underdogs Yarmouth
looking the equal of their United Counties Premier opponents.
Yarmouth won their first corner after 12 minutes and when Sullivan fired back the clearance low into the area
Lamb was a fraction too late to connect and at least force a save. A weak Bannister shot from 20 yards did not trouble Hilton,
and a Knight pass into the area aimed for Okechuknu was well intercepted by the Bloaters’ ‘keeper.
St Neots were making much use of Hall on their left but he was well-policed by Sewell, and
when he did get in a cross after 22 minutes Hilton made a good catch. The Yarmouth
attack had not created much danger so far despite valiant efforts from Lamb, but when Palmer moved up to join in K McElroy’s
tackle proved decisive. Palmer had more luck the next time he boosted the attack and he got in a cross to the far post where
a defender sliced his clearance but the ball fell kindly for the home side who cleared.
A St Neots corner after 30 minutes was cleared by Darby after the ball ran loose, and then
Hall went for another long ball down the left but fouled Sewell as they both clashed in the chase.
St Neots went closest to a goal so far in the 37th minute when Knight headed
against the Yarmouth bar with the visitors’ defence
eventually clearing their lines.
Roach, who had a quiet half, then had a couple of chances near the interval: Savage knocked
the ball forward and Sullivan helped it on to the Bloaters’ leading scorer who fired wide; then as the ball was played
forward moments later Roach was marginally offside.
Both ‘keepers were in early action as the second half got under way and both saved
comfortably enough before Ager was penalised for pulling Okechuknu: D McElroy took the kick short back to Dyett but his forward
ball only brought a Yarmouth throw. From this, the Bloaters played the ball along the home area and Lamb finally had the shot
which was saved by Chatfield.
A corner at the other end saw Hall cross to Okechuknu in the 54th minute but
‘Pistol Pete’ headed wide. Yarmouth brought Vide
into play but he was climbed all over for a free kick which he took himself only for Chatfield to claim. Knight then fired
well wide for the Saints.
The game was continuing in much the same vein as the first half with goal chances at a premium,
and the first change came on the hour when Squires, who had needed treatment in the first period, was replaced by Reed. Immediately
the pace of the game picked up and Yarmouth had a good spell.
The first chance came from a Vide cross into the box from which Roach got a shot on target but Chatfield pushed the ball up
and smothered as it fell with Roach still in close attendance. Palmer again showed a penchant for attacking but only a goal
Reed then did well, latching onto a Sullivan pass, but the home defence did their job and
although the ball fell by Roach it glanced off his leg for yet another goal kick. Roach had the ball in the net after 68 minutes
only to find Reed had been penalised for fouling his opponent while making the cross, but it was the sort of service that
had been denied Roach earlier in the game.
K McElroy became the second player in the referee’s book after a foul on the Yarmouth right but from Lamb’s free kick Sullivan shot straight
at the ‘keeper.
St Neots then made a double substitution, bringing on Eno and Cole for K McElroy and Okechuknu
(72 minutes) , but still it was the visitors who made the running, with Vide trying an ambitious shot from 30 yards which
ended up over the stand after some nimble footwork by Reed.
The long-awaited opening goal arrived in the 77th minute and looked likely to
be the winner. In a home breakaway, Knight crossed from the left, and with the Bloaters’ defence out of position Kenneford
pulled the ball back and substitute Cole shot home from the edge of the area, giving Hilton no chance.
Bartley on for Lamb (79 minutes) but Hall beat Sullivan only to lift his shot over the Yarmouth
bar. The Bloaters quickly made a final substitution with Thompson replacing the disappointing Vide (82 minutes) but it was St Neots that now dominated, finding the gaps as Yarmouth
desperately searched for an equaliser. Then, from a break, the last shot of the afternoon was Bartley’s forcing Chatfield
to make a tumbling save in the fourth minute of added time but to the sounds of “When the Saints come marching in”
it was the home side that celebrated at the final whistle.
Attendance - 235