Southern League Division One Central
St Neots Town
Joe Rider 13, 45+1, Myles Cowling 35, Neo Richard-Noel 64
St Neots Town off and running with four-star win over Kidlington
- Credit: DAVID R W RICHARDSON/RICH IN VIDEO
A first Southern League Division One Central win of the season and a clean sheet got St Neots Town’s bank holiday programme off to the perfect start.
After a stuttering start to their league programme, they needed a positive performance and result and they got both in the 4-0 success at home to Kidlington, who arrived occupying the bottom spot in the table.
The Oxfordshire visitors had picked up a shock FA Cup victory at North Leigh but they never looked like adding to that at New Rowley Park and the hosts' final tally could have been even higher.
Even an extended half time break due to an injury to one of the officials failed to dampen St Neots hold on the match and they deserved their success with man of the match Myles Cowling turning in a sparkling individual performance.
Manager Pete Gill made two team changes reinstating Callum Anderson in midfield and Joe Rider up front, leaving Erin Amu and Lawrence Hammond on the substitutes bench.
St Neots made much the better start creating two good chances before taking the lead on 13 minutes.
Charley Barker stung Harry Way’s hands with a 30-yarder after four minutes and three minutes later the visiting keeper was again in action parrying a Cowling effort after unselfish play by Rider.
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Rider opened the scoring though soo after from the penalty spot after Kidlington skipper Lewis Gabbidon had scythed down Cowling as he wove his way through the defence.
Briefly the visitors rallied and John Mills sent a free-kick from a promising position high over the crossbar while a Gabbidon set-piece was pushed away by Louis Chadwick.
But St Neots continued to dominate from midfield and 10 minutes before the break the mercurial Myles Cowling did negotiate his way through the visiting defence to score his first goal of the season
Rider then got the ball in the net only to by pulled back by an offside flag and as half-time approached Cowling had two further chances to increase the home lead.
He first went around the last defender and goalkeeper only to be denied by too narrow an angle as he found the side netting, and then after a flowing team move Lee Watkins set him up at the far post but his finish was too high.
However, St Neots were not to be denied and in the final seconds of the first period Barker crossed to the far post for Rider to claim his second.
An appeal for a replacement for an injured Assistant Referee was answered from the crowd and the second half got under way after an extended half time break.
Watkins picked up a yellow card for a late challenge and then Kidlington went for broke as they sent on all three permitted substitutes in a bid to revitalise their approach.
Despite reshaping their line-up, they were caught short in defence after 64 minutes as Neo Richard-Noel, again fed by Cowling, picked his spot with a searing finish to make it four.
That was the signal for St Neots to give substitutes some game time with Florian Tsaguim, Erin Amu and Lawrence Hammond all introduced for Richard-Noel, Cowling and Watkins.
For a spell they seemed to coast on their comfortable lead and Kidlington looked more confident as substitute Jordan Godfrey brought a fine full-length save from Chadwick after 71 minutes.
But with 13 minutes left visiting skipper Gabbidon was sent off after a rash two-footed tackle and that signalled the end of the visitors’ attacking efforts as St Neots comfortably finished the match.
They could have had more too with Rider shooting narrowly wide, Tsaguim getting the ball in the net but being ruled offside, and Ben Heal bringing the save of the match from Way as he twisted in the air to turn the ball over the crossbar.
It was an overall satisfactory performance and will have boosted the confidence of Pete Gill’s side before their trip to Kempston Rovers on Monday.
St Neots Town: Chadwick, Heal, Smith, Anderson, Johnson, Marfo, Cowling (E.Amu 65), Barker, Richard-Noel (Tsaguim 65), Rider, Watkins (Hammond 72).