Southern League Division One Central
St Neots Town
Nehemiah Richard-Noel 17
Kit Brown 90+2
St Neots Town see victory snatched away in dying seconds by Hertford Town
- Credit: NEIL METCALFE
A much-improved performance by St Neots Town almost brought all three points - until an injury-time equaliser from Hertford Town wrecked their hopes.
It was the ultimate sucker punch dealt out by visitors after the home side had dominated much of the second period.
A combination of outstanding goalkeeping by visiting custodian Luke Mewitt and some speculative finishing cost Pete Gill’s side two points their performance had deserved.
The boss made just one team change with Arel Amu replacing Joe Rider up front and his pairing with Nehemiah Richard-Noel in attack promises much for the future.
Again, it was St Neots’ midfield energy that ensured their greater share of possession but early second half saves by Mewitt from Amu, Richard-Noel and Watkins earned his side an unexpected share of the spoils.
The opening phase of the match was evenly contested and after an early effort by Jack Hewitt that sailed over the home crossbar, Myles Cowling shot narrowly wide from a Charley Barker free-kick.
Visiting striker Samuel Faniyan had two openings but failed to find the target but St Neots were looking confident in possession and creating chances of their own.
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They deservedly took the lead after 17 minutes with a slick move as Ben Heal found space on the right flank before setting up Richard-Noel who spotted the visiting keeper out of position to net at the near post.
That was to be the visiting keeper’s only mistake though.
After 33 minutes he dived bravely at the feet of Richard-Noel after good approach play by Cowling, but the visitors were exploiting the full width of the pitch with the home defence guilt of playing too narrow a defence.
Louis Chadwick saved well from Obinna Ogbonna and right on the break St Neots almost doubled their lead when Richard-Noel went clear of the defence from a neat Amu flick, but the keeper saved well at his feet.
St Neots began the second half well and Barker and skipper Lee Watkins combined well for the latter to test the keeper with a low shot.
The keeper then pushed an Amu shot for a corner at full stretch and some desperate defending by the visiting side saw Ben Weyman booked for a cynical challenge.
Play was moving swiftly from end-to-end with St Neots getting the ball in the net but being denied by an offside flag, and from the free kick Hewitt saw his effort rebound from the St Neots crossbar.
After a spell of play largely in midfield, St Neots saw the industrious Barker set up Richard-Noel whose finish was too high and then visiting substitute Jacob Samber-Richards shot over the bar after going clear of the defence.
With 16 minutes left St Neots introduced substitute Florian Tsaguim for the limping Amu and he was quickly in the thick of the action shooting over the bar from a narrow angle.
St Neots increased the pressure in the last 10 minutes and Mewitt made significant saves from Cowling and Tsaguim and another Cowling effort just skimmed the crossbar.
As the final whistle approached Hertford introduced substitute Jake Bunyan and he was involved in the 92nd incident in which another substitute Kit Brown snatched the goal to give his side an unlikely first point of the season.
St Neots: Chadwick, Heal, Steel, Anderson, Smith, Marfo, Cowling, Watkins, Amu (A), Richard-Noel, Barker
Subs: Tsaguim (for Amu 74 mins), Amu (E), Rider, Hammond, and Sutton.
Booked: Richard-Noel 60, Watkins 65
Goals: Richard-Noel 17
Hertford: Mewitt, Smith, Njorge, Empson, Herd, Gosling, Weyman, Makuendi, Faniyan, Hewitt, Ogbonna
Subs: Samber-Richards (for Empson 46 mins), Brown (for Weyman 72 mins), Bunyan (for Makuendi 90 mins),Bryant, and Erkarslan.
Booked: Empson 16, Weyman 49, Herd 85
Goal: Brown 90+2
Referee: David Nicholson (Bury St Edmunds)