St Neots Town robbed by late equaliser at North Leigh
- Credit: Archant
An injury-time equaliser for home side North Leigh proved a bitter blow for St Neots Town on their long midweek trip to Oxfordshire.
They deserved better than the 2-2 draw after coming from being behind at the break and dominating large portions of the second period in the Southern League Division One Central clash.
The ariel threat from the hosts, especially at set pieces, was their undoing but there were plenty of positives.
It was pleasing that the goals continued to come, 15 now in five matches which makes them the second-best scorers in the league, but defensively there are still gaps to be plugged if they are to capitalise on their improvement at the other end of the field.
For the first time the starting line-up was unchanged, with recovering striker Leon Lobjoit and player-manager Barry Corr on the bench, and the overall performance was solid with Ben Worman’s two goals looking likely to hand his side a first away victory of the current campaign.
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But the sheer persistence of the home side after going behind afforded them their point as they still seek their first league success of the season.
Kicking up the slope in the first half, St Neots took some time to find their rhythm, with a long-range effort from Tom Dickens their most notable effort after a quarter of an hour.
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The home side had begun well, with St Neots keeper George Whitehall twice having to leave his line to block early efforts, and the pressure paid dividends after 29 minutes.
Aaron Smith was dispossessed in midfield and after Lance Williams had freed George Seacole, his delightful lob over the advancing Whitehall put North Leigh in front.
Shortly afterwards Elliott Osborne-Ricketts should have done better than shoot wildly over the bar following some pressure from St Neots that had failed to produce a positive result.
As half time approach another defensive error by the visitors allowed the lively Seacole a free run at goal but he shot wide.
The second half saw a transformation of fortunes as St Neots settled to dominate much of the play.
They were rewarded after 57 minutes when the impressive Worman picked up a pinpoint cross from Liam Bennett to beat the home keeper and level the scores.
The pressure on the home defence was maintained with Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite racing almost the full length of the field unchallenged before being thwarted by a defender.
Lee Watkins then set up Worman for a shot from the edge of the area that was blocked, but the visitors were not to be denied.
After 73 minutes substitute Lobjoit beat two defenders and although his effort was blocked, the loose ball was swept home by Worman.
Shortly afterwards a Worman free kick was deflected for a corner and then a Lobjoit shot after neat play by Jake Battersby failed to test the home keeper.
Four minutes from time North Leigh squandered a free-kick on the edge of the St Neots penalty area and a first away league victory for the Saints was looking on the cards.
But a minute into added time they conceded a free-kick and Adam Learoyd rose high above the packed defence to head past Whitehall.
St Neots Town: Whitehall, Bennett, Battersby, Wilson-Braithwaite, Dickens, Corr, Watkins, Smith (Cowling 80), Robbins (Lobjoit 57), Amu, Worman
Subs (not used): Gomersall, Corr.
Goals: Worman 57, 73.
Booked: Wilson-Braithwaite 43, Robbins 55.
North Leigh: North, Isherwood (Williams 86), McNeill, Brown, Carnell, Learoyd, Osborne-Ricketts (Mills 61), McNish, Seacole, Williams (Odihambo 77), Nash
Goals: Seacole 29, Learoyd 90+1.
Booked: McNish 27, Learoyd 90
HT: North Leigh 1 St Neots Town 0
Referee: David Nicholson (Bicester)