Dear leads by example as Huntingdon go top
CAPTAIN Ricky Dear scored one and forced another when Huntingdon Town beat Wellingborough Whitworth to go top of the United Counties Division One table on Saturday.
Dear opened the scoring with an outstanding strike from the edge of the area in the 31st minute after riding a little Whitworth pressure early on – and Latvian striker Niks Savalnieks doubled their lead when he round the goalkeeper and stroked the ball home just after half-time.
Fit again midfielder Jamie Blackwell, who was excellent throughout, scored their third with a delicious 25-yard chip, before a Stuart Eason cross was put into his own net by a Wellingborough defender who was under pressure from Dear in the box.
Despite Wellingborough getting one goal back, it was a fine all-round performance from Ricky Marheineke’s side. Not that the manager was completely convinced.
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“We defended well as a team and limited them to only a few chances,” he said.
“We went into half-time with a lead and that gave us a platform for the second half.
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“We spoke about a few things at half time and in the second half we played much better and created more opportunities while still defending very well. It was pleasing.
“Defensively I thought we did well but our quality wasn’t great at times. When we had got possession of the ball we looked as if we might be caught in two minds, whether to play it short or long. Consequently, we kept giving the ball away. When you do that it is difficult to get a foothold and get complete control of the game.
“In the second half, on the ball, people made better decisions and we played much better. We were comfortable towards the end of the game.”
The return of hard-working midfielder Blackwell, and the form of Savalnieks up front, is a huge fillip for the manager, who says he is ticking off each game as they come.
Harborough, who were top at the start of the day but second by nightfall, were without a game and still have one in hand over Huntingdon.
But the two of them are yet to meet for a second time after Huntingdon were beaten by their rivals 1-0 at home in December.
It now looks like a two-horse race for the title and promotion though after Bugbrooke St Michaels were beaten by Eynesbury Rovers 3-0.
EYNESBURY inflicted Bugbrooke’s heaviest defeat of the season at The Alfred Memorial Ground with Tom Coles scoring twice in their 3-0 win.
Manager Paul Dodson was forced to field a weaker side than he would have liked for the game with star striker Lee Bassett suspended, Shane Fox ill and Ben Cole working away.
So 17-year-old striker Greg Thorndick was called into the squad and made his full debut and although he failed to find the net, the youngster was excellent, putting in a graft to be named man of the match.
Both of Coles’ goals came in the second half but Eynesbury were actually 1-0 in 40 seconds when a Thorndick effort was blocked and the rebound side-footed home by Jeremy McMurrough.
Three minutes later Thorndick was denied by the Bugbrooke goalkeeper James Sterling as he made a nuisance of himself up front. There were further chances for Coles and Gavin Batt before Bugbrooke’s Richard Pannell headed the ball just over before half time.
Thorndick also headed a chance over at the start of the second half before Coles got his first, beating the goalkeeper with a delightful chip, in the 56th minute, and his second, six minutes later, a fine solo effort.
Thorndick was unfortunate not to cap his performance with a goal late on but his header was held well by Sterling.