UCL PREMIER: NEWPORT PAGNELL 2-1 ST NEOTS TOWN || QUESTIONABLE refereeing decisions took the wind out of St Neots Town s sails on Tuesday night as they fell to their first defeat of the season. A dubious second goal for the home side – ruled out, then awa
UCL PREMIER: NEWPORT PAGNELL 2-1 ST NEOTS TOWN ||
QUESTIONABLE refereeing decisions took the wind out of St Neots Town's sails on Tuesday night as they fell to their first defeat of the season.
A dubious second goal for the home side - ruled out, then awarded again - was followed by a strong Saints penalty claim being denied by the referee.
But Saints were never at their best against a strong Newport Pagnell side that only narrowly missed out on last year's league runners-up spot.
Home striker Rob McDonald outpaced the St Neots defence after 15 minutes, but saw his shot rebound off the post. Three minutes later the home side went ahead when Jordan Spruce was allowed to run at the defence and set up Vinnie Shreeves to score from close range.
Newport Pagnell had the ball in the net again on 27 minutes through Darren Lynch, but the assistant's flag was raised to rule out the effort and a free kick was awarded. After lengthy discussions between the two officials, the referee reversed the decision and awarded the goal to put Newport 2-0 up.
The second talking point came on 52 minutes when Liam Harrold was brought down by two defenders in the penalty area. The referee signalled for a free kick outside the box, frustrating Saints fans and players again and denying the visitors the penalty that could have kick-started a comeback.
Saints continued to press in search of a foothold in the game and found one when Josh Sozzo, a half-time replacement for Lee Bassett, crossed for Harrold to score his third of the campaign on 71 minutes.
St Neots made an attacking tactical switch in the final ten minutes, but a determined home defence stood firm to take the three points.