Ben Mackey penalty salvages point as St Neots Town draw with Barwell at The Cozy Stadium

WITH the leaders of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division Hemel Hempstead Town well and truly beaten 4-0 at Banbury United on Saturday, St Neots Town’s 2-2 home draw with Barwell was doubly disappointing.

It was a chance for the third-placed Saints to close in on the leaders – and second-placed Leamington – but after a first half in which they dominated but only found the net once, St Neots were 2-1 down within six minutes of the restart.

Only when lively young winger Ade Yusuff come on with 12 minutes to go did St Neots finally shake off their slumber and begin to look dangerous again.

It was the tricky Yusuff who was brought down right on the edge of the Barwell box for Ben Mackey’s 82nd minute penalty equaliser. The St Neots striker crashed the ball into the back of the net to rescue a point – but the same player and Stefan Moore both put further chances wide before the end of the game.

It had been so different in the first half with the Saints going 1-0 up in the 17th minute when Barwell defender Jamie McAteer scuffed a pass and Moore stepped in to take the ball around the goalkeeper and slot it home.

It was only a matter of time before the Saints double that advantage, surely?

Not so. Despite the best efforts of midfielder Lewis Hilliard, the match remained 1-0 to St Neots until, a minute after the turnaround, Barwell struck with Jamie Towers silencing the crowd.

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Towers turned provider in the 52nd minute when his cross was firmly headed past goalkeeper Michael Duggan.

Duggan made a fantastic double save midway through the second half as the visitors pressed.

Then Yusuff was introduced. The winger was booked for a foul with in two minutes and drew the foul that won the point two minutes minutes later. Quite a cameo. Again.

Manager Iain Parr said: “We came out with a new formation and for the first 42 minutes we created chance after chance.

“But they are one of the better sides we will play in this division this season.”

St Neots: Michael Duggan, Jon-Paul Duncliffe, Ed Adjei, Ollie Thorne, Gavin Hoyte, Arthur Lee (Ade Yusuff), Lewis Hilliard, Jay Davies, Stefan Moore, Ben Mackey, Jordan Gent.

Meanwhile, St Neots Town have a new stadium sponsor, with Rowley Park now known as The Cozy Stadium after a deal was agreed with Cozy Coaches and its sister company Cozy Tours.

Cozy Coaches have been providing the transport for St Neots’ away games for the past year and the club’s managing director Lee Kearns said: “It’s another fantastic commercial step forward that will ensure continued growth.

“I look forward to working closely with Cozy and am very excited about the future opportunities this relationship will offer to both parties”

Form the coach company, Norman Cozy said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with St Neots Town, providing transport and sponsorship.”