St Neots Town up to third as fine start to the Southern League season continues at Barton Rovers
- Credit: Archant
St Neots Town jumped up to third in the Southern League Division One Central table after a 2-1 win at Barton Rovers – the fourth game in a row without defeat.
Saints have only lost once this year in the league, that coming at home to Welwyn Garden City, but this was their first success away from home, after three draws.
It was achieved on the back of a gritty second-half performance after a first period where they had to come from behind.
Ryan Robbins, brought in to replace the unwell leading scorer Leon Lobjoit, got the equaliser with his sixth goal of the season before Ben Worman hit what turned out to be the winner with his eighth of the campaign.
Another missing from the starting line-up was goalkeeper Louis Chadwick, recalled by parent club Cambridge United, and his replacement, George Whitehall, had to rush from his goal to clear after just four minutes.
He was kept busy in the opening exchanges as Barton continued on the offensive and the keeper needed to pick the ball out of the net on 22 minutes when Charlie Smith skilfully curled a free kick over the defensive wall and into the corner of the net beyond his despairing dive.
That setback only served to spur the visitors on and by half-time they were ahead.
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Robbins burst into the penalty area on 34 minutes and when he was upended by Lewis Thomas, he picked himself up to level the scores from the spot.
Four minutes later a pinpoint cross from Jake Battersby picked our Worman in front of goal and it was 2-1.
St Neots resumed after the break with another incisive move, Robbins’ powerful header went straight into the chest of the home custodian.
Bennett then shot wide but Barton began to come more into the game with Saints getting chances on the break.
Barton’s Tshikuna should have done better than his effort over the bar after the visiting defence had been breached but clear chances for either side were limited as the respective defences dominated.
There was a threating moment on the stroke of full-time when St Neots conceded a free-kick in a similar position from where they had conceded their goal.
However, this time Whitehall was equal to Smith’s curled effort, pushing it away for a corner.
St Neots Town: Whitehall, Bennett, Battersby, Goode, Wilson-Braithwaite, Dickens, Watkins (Smith 84), Simper, Robbins, Amu (Chadwick 84), Worman.
Subs (not used): Corr
Goals: Robbins (pen)34, Worman 38
Booked: Simper 84, Robbins 90+2
Barton Rovers: Cooper, Jibodu, Ward, Smith, Phelan, Thomas, Regis (Powell 60), Osobu (Dummett 60), Bell, Tshikuna, Burnett
Subs (not used): Palmer, Andrews, Tigwell.
Goal: Smith 22
Booked: Thomas 84
HT: Barton Rovers 1 St Neots Town 2
Referee: Joe Woolmer (Northampton)