Southern League Division One Central
St Neots Town
Wynford Marfo 19, Joe Rider (pen) 45+3, 52, (pen) 90+1, Nehemiah Richard-Noel 56, Myles Cowling 90+3
Christophe Regis 5, Bradley Bell 26
Rider on a storming run as Saints bash Barton for six
- Credit: KARYN HADDON
Joe Rider continued his fantastic run of form as St Neots Town launched themselves into a play-off position with a superb win over Barton Rovers.
The former Cambridge United junior bagged a hat-trick as Saints won 6-2 at home to their Bedfordshire visitors, a fourth win in five for Pete Gill's young side.
Rider has scored 10 in those matches, with Saints hitting 17 in total, all of which has shot them up to fourth in the Southern League Division One Central table.
They twice had to come from behind in this one and they were assisted when one of their former players, Martel Powell, was dismissed just before the break for verbally abusing the referee.
Barton battled well in the second half despite their numerical disadvantage and a key point in the match came immediately after the break when Town's goalkeeper Louis Chadwick saved a penalty that would have given the visitors the lead for the third time.
With Callum Anderson injured in the 2-0 defeat at league leaders North Leigh three days earlier, the enforced St Neots team change saw the return in midfield of Charley Barker in an otherwise unchanged starting line-up.
Two of the goals came in time added at the end of the game but St Neots totally dominated the second half and will have been disappointed not to have scored more goals against a packed defence.
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Barton issued an early wake up call to the home side when they took the lead after just five minutes, former Saint Nathan Frater involved in the build-up as Christopher Regis fired home from close range.
St Neots responded well and Rider was twice denied an equaliser, first when Kyle Forster made a good save and then a minute later when Paul Andrews blocked his close-range finish.
However, after 19 minutes the scores were levelled when St Neots central defender Wynford Marfo netted following a short corner to record his first ever goal for the club.
The contest continued at breakneck pace with Lee Watkins having a shot deflected wide and Martel Powell clearing acrobatically off the goal line to deny Neo Richard-Noel.
St Neots then uncharacteristically gifted Barton their second goal as a rushed clearance by Chadwick went straight to the unmarked Bradley Bell who fired into the unguarded net.
Unperturbed St Neots regained the initiative swiftly, with Rider heading over the bar, and he then had another effort thwarted as the visiting keeper saved bravely at his feet.
Richard-Noel then set up his strike partner again but off balance he fired over the bar.
As the first half moved into added time Harvey Steel was upended just inside the penalty area and the Barton protests earned a booking for skipper Andrews and a red card for Powell.
After the furore had subsided Rider calmly slotted home the spot-kick for 2-2 at half-time.
The drama resumed immediately after half time when Barton were awarded a penalty, Ben Heal bringing down Luke Williams, but Chadwick pushed away Charlie Smith’s effort and just four minutes later St Neots were ahead for the first time.
Richard-Noel rounded his marker on the left and crossed for Rider to slot home to make in 3-2.
It got even better for St Neots four minutes later when the best move of the match saw Charlie Johnson feed Rider from deep in their own half and his early cross picked out Richard-Noel who netted.
Barton regrouped with substitutes introduced and they adopted a more defensive approach making it difficult for St Neots to break down their defence.
Myles Cowling had a shot deflected and Forster twice saved well from Lee Watkins and defiantly Barton tried to attack the home defence on the break.
Bell should have reduced the deficit when played clear but Chadwick saved well with his legs and as the game moved into added time there was still much drama to unfold.
Rider was brought down in the penalty area but got to his feet to complete his hat trick and three minutes into added time, another smooth three-man move produced a sixth goal for St Neots, substitute Joe Sutton feeding Rider and his square pass converted by Cowling for his third goal of the campaign.
St Neots Town: Chadwick, Steel, Heal, Barker (Smith 86), Johnson, Marfo (Thomas 90+2), Cowling, Watkins, Richard-Noel (Sutton 79), Rider, Amu.
Subs (not used): Gomes, Anthony.
Goals: Marfo 19, Rider (pen) 45+3, 52, (pen) 90+1, Richard-Noel 56, Cowling 90+3
Booked: Steel 9
Barton Rovers: Forster, Powell, Andrews, Williams, Adeoti, Smith, Bell, Frater (Hudson 69), Thomas, Regis, Burnett (Evans 61).
Subs (not used): Phelan, Reynolds, Hosier.
Goals: Regis 5, Bell 26
Booked: Andrews 45, Adeoti 87
Sent-off: Powell 45
HT: St Neots Town 2 Barton Rovers 2
Referee: Daniel Todd (Milton Keynes)