Lively Town denied victory by two controversial offside decisons
Tangerine Town earn a well deserved point in Cambridgeshire
St Neots Town 2 v 2 Stratford Town
(Half Time 1 v 2)
(Williams 27, Shariff 86) (Ahenkorah 15, Stephens 33)
Town's vivid Tangerine away strip brightened up a bitterly cold day in Cambridgeshire and with two first half goals from Edwin Ahenkorah, and hot shot Ben Stephens Town looked to have secured the points but were then on the receiving end of two controversial offside decisions and had to settle for a point in an entertaining encounter at the Premier Plus Stadium.
Despite a the setback of a New Years day defeat Town were looking to continue their impressive run of form that had seen them climb the Southern Premier league table in recent weeks. They signalled their intentions early when Justin Marsden volleyed straight at Saints keeper Emery in the opening exchanges.
With Recci, Francis and Fry looking in commanding form at the back well guarded by Hancocks in his midfield anchor role Town comfortably repelled the hosts early attacks. Town deservedly took the lead on 15 minutes when Will Grocott jinked his way down the left and crossed for Edwin Ahenkorah to bundle the ball over the line for the opener. Ben Stephens was a constant thorn in the hosts side and along with Ahenkorah worked the Saints back four hard in the opening 20 minutes.
In an open, attacking game the hosts drew level with an excellent goal from Williams on 27 minutes after some neat one touch passing with Williams comprehensively dispatching ball past Connor from 15 yards.
Town hit back immediately with a Loyiso Recci rocket then went ahead when live wire Ben Stephens took advantage of some hesitation in the St Neots defence to steal in and head the visitors back in front after 33 minutes a lead which was taken into the interval.
The second half saw great workrate from Town which was exemplified by both Stephens and Ahenkorah busting their lungs to help the side defend and with Recci, Francis and Fry competently dealing with the Saints attacks. 15 minutes from time Town thought they had wrapped up victory until a linesmans offside flag denied Justin Marsden a goal to put the Tangerines 3-1 ahead even though it appeared that Will Grocott had pulled the ball back across goal for Marsden to run on to, but Town's protests were in vain.
This good fortune appeared to stimulate the hosts who mounted a series of attacks which Town defended well however the visitors defence was penetrated in the 86th minute when Nabill Shariff tapped home the equaliser on the goal line from what looked to be a clear offside position so much so that referee Andrew Humphries consulted his assistant however the goal stood and the points were shared which on the balance of play was a fair reflection of the game however Townites sense of injustice arose from the manner in which it occurred.
All in all a fair result after an open and attractive game of football from two attack minded teams.
Town were left rueing their luck with the officials but also looking ahead to a huge week of home fixtures to come at the MoodChimp Stadium starting with non league giants Hereford on Tuesday evening followed by fellow title chasers Weymouth on Saturday.
Man of the Match Loyiso Recci A powerful and commanding display at the centre of Town's defence.
|Match Stats by Rod Abrahams|
| Stratford|| St Neots|
| 14||Goal Attempts|| 18|
| 9||On Target|| 6|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 2|
| 5||Corners Won|| 10|
| 8||Crosses into Box|| 9|
| 8||Fouls Conceded|| 12|
| 4||Off Side|| 1|
| 4||Yellow Cards|| 2|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
| Stratford Yellow Cards – Evans, Fry, Hamcocks & Stephens|
|St Neots Yellow Cards – Broccoli & Knight|