Resolute St Neots show signs of improvement at play-off chasing Ware

Neo Richard-Noel went close for St Neots Town at Ware.

Neo Richard-Noel went close for St Neots Town at Ware. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

St Neots may still be searching for a first win in nine but they also halted a run of four defeats with a draw at play-off chasing Ware.

Minus three players who were struck down by COVID-19 during the week, they also finished the game with 10 men after Dequaine Wilson-Braithwaite was sent off for a rash tackle with five minutes to go.

They showed remarkable resilience though to claim a 0-0 draw in the Southern League Division One Central match.

It was a contrast from the first meeting of the two sides this season at New Rowley Park where the Hertfordshire side had sneaked a victory in a seven-goal thriller.

With Gradi Milenge moving on and skipper Lee Watkins, Aaron Smith and Callum Anderson all isolating, there had to be significant team changes and back into the side came Neo Richard-Noel, Wilson-Braithwaite and Wynford Marfo.

Ky Marsh-Brown replaced his brother who was on the bench.

However, it was rather a disappointing contest with far too few clear chances than the openly fought contest deserved.

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St Neots certainly began well displaying no symptoms of a team lacking in belief and confidence.

In less than two minutes they had carved out one of the best chances of the match when a swift attack caught the home side cold, and the ball fell to Richard-Noel and his close effort was well saved by the home keeper.

Joe Rider off balance then headed wide from a Charley Barker free kick and a stinging shot from Dylan Switters required a double save from Bradley Robinson.

Gradually Ware came into he contest, and they should have capitalised on their first effort on goal after 20 minutes but after Josh Williams had outpaced the St Neots defence to set up Liam Dulson, his effort was well wide of target.

Making only his third appearance in the side Switters looked comfortable in midfield and he set up Marsh-Brown whose effort sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.

Ware’s best first-half attack after 35 minutes saw Josh Williams power through to see his shot blocked by Perry White but the ball span away to Lee Rose whose effort clipped the St Neots crossbar on its way to safety.

During that first half three home players had found their names into the referee’s notebook as they defended sometimes over enthusiastically and in time added at the end of the first half, a low shot from Rider brought a significant low save from Robinson.

Ware looked a better organised side after the break and Louis Chadwick had to save bravely at the feet of Dulson after just three minutes.

There followed a spell of Ware possession that produced little to threaten the St Neots defence, although from a Thomas Bruno free kick, Chadwick needed two attempts to retrieve the ball in the crowded penalty area.

Marsh-Brown had had a quiet first half but in a two-minutes spell he took on the home defence, his first effort blocked before being hauled down by a defender to concede a free kick which St Neots failed to take advantage of.

After 69 minutes Richard-Noel beat a wide defender to make for goal, but he was brought down earning the home side their fourth yellow card, but again St Neots could not use the free kick to their advantage.

St Neots’ downfall was the lack of accuracy with their final pass and when Swatters was injured 10 minutes from time they had to reorganise.

That was a freneticperiod but neither side could press home the advantage and the eventual outcome was a point apiece.

St Neots Town: Chadwick, Marfo, Wilson-Braithwaite, Barker, White, Heal, Cowling, Switters (Kwai Marsh-Brown 80), Richard-Noel, Rider (Dearman 84), Ky Marsh-Brown

Subs (not used): Kobus, Gill.

Booked: Richard-Noel 67, Switters 71

Sent-off: Wilson-Braithwaite 85

Ware: Robinson, Milner, Mulley, Rose, Kendall, Arthur, Williams, Bruno, Hope, Skandan (Adu-Donyinah 62), Dulson (Buchanan 65).

Subs (not used): Esprit, Bardie, Vigneswaran.

Booked: Rose 21, Mulley 32, Bruno 40, Arthur 69, Williams 90+1

HT: Ware 0 St Neots Town 0

Referee: Peter Wilson (Chelmsford)

Attendance: 241