After a late pull out from opponents Caldecott, Kingy worked his magic to see St Neots return to the Pavilion.
The first encounter was a spirited affair ( a couple of weeks ago) albeit we ran out worthy winners 3-1.
Their team were at the ground early again and raring to go and it looked that they had strengthened with a couple technically superior additions. However, we still looked more athletic and we were hopeful that our play and fitness would win out.
We had a strong fourteen to choose from and it was great to welcome Paul Sully and Kieren back for their first games of the season albeit both started on the bench alongside Andy Jolley. We started brightly and began to control the play albeit St Neots were playing better football than last time and they still retained some pace on the break.
After around 20 minutes, an accurate ball forward found their left footed forward in space. As Gavin chased him down he unleashed a powerful first time drive that whistled past Glen into the top corner. It was a cracking goal and after all of our efforts we were a goal down! 0-1. We were playing OK but all to often we were giving possession away by rushing or forcing the play. Fortunately some creative play down the right saw Simon deliver a fantastic pin-point right-footed cross that picked Willow out. He nonchalantly guided in a header from 10 yards for an excellent equaliser.
A few chances came and went and we mixed the team up to give everyone at least an hour but try as we might we went in 1-1 at the break.
However, we were determined to get better and sharper and so it proved. Within two minutes of the restart some good play from Howard saw Chris Parker in possession and he swept in low from the left past the keeper 2-1. A minute later it was 3-1. An attempted barge from the strong and skillful centre half was cleverly evaded by Howard who broke free and danced his way trickily into the box. After rounding a defender and the keeper he slotted coolly into the net. This sharp start had really unsettled our opponents and caught them cold.
They kept probing but increasingly good pressing in the midfield or solid defending at the back snuffed out the danger. Gavin and Kevin were really bossing the back-line and breaking up every attack with a combination of pace and strength- ably supported by Roy, Andy Jolley, Sully and Simon who all played a part at full-back.
After about 65 minutes their keeper kicked the ball out from the edge of his box. The Ball dropped to Sedge about 35-40 yrds out and without a second thought he brought it down calmly, before smashing a thunderous volleyed drive goal-wards. The new ball (kindly acquired by Nigel) whistled over the stranded keeper and into the net. 4-1.
Before long it was 5 as a some great play between Sully, Glen(who was now out of goal) and Sedge freed Two Touch. Two's escaped from two defenders before bursting into the box and drilling an angled strike in the corner of the net. St Neot's kept going but our fitness was much better and it seemed like they were running out of ideas. Glen made some space in the box and he was well-found by Kev Anderson who had been marauding down the right. Sadly Glen could not convert it despite looking spritely in attack.
Before the finish a useful cross saw the strong Chris Parker pop up again at the far post to despatch another well-taken finish from an acute angle for his second and our 6th. Andy Jolley and Roy both succumbed to calf strains so hopefully they are not too bad or out for too long.
St Neot's were game opponents again and there were some strong displays and great Goals for the supporters to see. The bar was packed, with great food provided by Gavin. Chris Parker and Kevin Hurst were prime candidates for Man of the Match and it was another enjoyable game and a well-deserved victory.