Fine showing but St Neots Town sunk on the break by play-off chasing North Leigh

Wynford Marfo went close for St Neots Town at home to North Leigh in the Southern League.

Wynford Marfo went close for St Neots Town at home to North Leigh in the Southern League. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

St Neots Town produced one of their best home performances of the season against play-off chasing North Leigh only to be beaten by a single goal.

The visitors, who have been in the top six for much of the season, strengthened their position with the three points in the 1-0 success moving them up to fourth in the table. However, Saints manager Pete Gill, who had the luxury of naming an unchanged line-up after two consecutive away victories, was pleased with his side's performance against a Leigh squad with the third highest tally of goals scored in the division.

It was never going to be easy against their free-scoring visitors but St Neots coped well in the first half with both sides seeing too many off target finishes.

The first two openings went to the visitors in the first quarter of an hour but Jordan Alves set up Luke Carnell only to see his volley balloon over the bar and Jordan Thomas then set up Ben Brown, but he too sent the ball high over the top.

St Neots looked purposeful on the break and after 20 minutes the hard-working Rob Mason saw his effort blocked by a defender after skipper Lee Watkins had played him clear.

Roger James was then played clear of the defence by Aaron McCreadie, and he should have done better than volley tamely over the bar.

On the half hour from a Charley Barker corner, Charlie Johnson rose above the visiting defence only to see his powerful header pass just the wrong side of the crossbar, and then as St Neots continued to press, Rob Mason sent his narrow-angled effort on to the roof of the goal netting.

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Six minutes before the break a searching Callum Anderson cross found Mason with his back to goal and as he turned, he could only shoot wide of the far post.

The half ended with James seeing his powerful free kick rebound from the crossbar,

The second half began badly for St Neots as, in the first significant action, the visitors claimed what was to turn out to be the winning goal.

After a St Neots attack floundered on the edge of the visiting penalty area, North Leigh broke quickly down their right where James was left in acres of space to collect a Jordan Thomas clearance and progress to beat the unguarded Luke Chadwick with a low shot.

Five minutes later from a Wynford Marfo cross, Mason got up above the visiting defence but could only head wide.

However, St Neots were showing a spirited determination to get back on terms introducing two substitutes and adopting a more attacking approach to the match.

On the hour visiting keeper Christian Lawrence had to fling himself at the feet of Marfo after clever play by substitute Felipe McConnell, who then himself shot wide.

In the last 15 minutes it was all St Neots with the visitors clearly happy to defend their slender advantage.

Another substitute at the other end, Jefferson Louis shot over the bar in a rare breakaway but St Neots persevered to the end with McConnell and Johnson both close to rescuing what would have been a deserved point.

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St Neots: Chadwick, Marfo, Smith, Anderson (Cowling 54), Johnson, Beckett, Barker (McConnell 58), Watkins, Richard-Noel (Akambi 65), Mason, Heal.

Subs (not used): Rider, White.

Booked: Beckett 81

North Leigh: Lawrence, Payne (Heap 71), Thomas, Nash, Carnell, Brown, James, McCreadie, Williams (Steele 58), Alves (Louis 75), Awadh.

Sub (not used): Gunn.

Goal: James 47

Booked: McCreadie 43. Heap 86

HT: St Neots Town 0 North Leigh 0

Referee: Shaun Barry (Northampton)

Attendance: 231