Late double strike sees Saints through
Saints 3 Ochoa 67, Murray 88, Kirby 90
Ware 2 Bishop 3, 62
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central (Saturday 26 December)
- Written by Ian
Saints undermined by Moles
Aylesbury 2 B Haule 20, Dobson 87
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central (Tuesday 22 December)
Saints: Michael Power-Simpson, Remmel Clarke, Craig Carby, Adam Kirby, Ryan Wharton, Alex Paine, Adam Louth (Lewis Ochoa 56), Alan Hedley, Craige Tomkins (Tyrone Pink 56), Tony Mendy, Aaron Lansiquot (Atnhony Thomas 79).
- Written by Ian
Highlights of the top of the league clash with AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Courtesy of Rushden and Diamonds FC Television (AFCRDTV) for all of you wanting to see the highlights of last Saturday's top of the league clash between the Saints and AFC Rushden & Diamonds, here is the link
A big thank you to AFC Rushden & Diamonds for permission to post the link and also for the excellent live coverage that this author was able to listen to out in Switzerland!
- Written by Benny
Outrageous strikes seal Saints win
Saints 2 Mendy 26, Louth 86
AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central (Saturday 19 December)
Match photos at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsknUKh2k
Mill Meadow was the again the place to be on Saturday to witness a game stuffed full of all that is good about the game.
A top-of-the table match up between two sides playing wholehearted football with the result not assured until the final minutes and the whole show illuminated by two strikes right out of the top drawer.
Diamonds, fresh to the division but with the weight of expectation on their shoulders from an illustrious past, have shown themselves to be worthy challengers and always travel with a large caravan of support as they make their way around the league. So it was here, as the usual crowd increased fourfold to provide an atmosphere worthy of the occasion.
The early sparring went with the home side and Alex Paine had two chances, one a header and one a shot that demanded a good low save from Matt Finlay in the visitors goal. The probings down the flanks of Richards and Hoban brought Diamonds into the game and an early chance that fell to Tommy Berwick was to set the tone for the afternoon as it brought out a fine stop from Saints keeper Michael Power-Simpson. It was just one of what became a string of outstanding stops by the keeper as the home defence threw everything they had into protecting their goal from an insistent opposition.
Whatever else is going on there is always one man who cannot be ignored and on 26 minutes he exploded into life. Of course, that man is Tony Mendy, Chalfont's own 'part-time Pele' as local radio has dubbed him. Running onto a high through ball into the area he let it bounce before smashing it on the half-volley across Finlay into the far corner. The whole crowd erupted at the beauty of the goal and Mendy went on a triumphal run back to the dugouts to high five the delighted Danny Edwards.
The lead might not have lasted long as Tom Lorraine went down in the area but Saints got the benefit of doubt from the referee as Diamonds continued to press forward. Power-Simpson required treatment after one challenge but he has a history of coming back even stronger after a knock and it was just as well as further bravery was needed to keep the Saints lead intact until the break.
The second half saw the momentum continue to be held with the visitors but despite having much of the play, Saints continued to defend well and they few glimpses of goal Diamonds saw were generally wasted through poor finishing. Using the height advantage they had throughout their side, they relied heavily on high balls into the area, where Jarra and Wharton, and later on, new signing Adam Kirby, gave little away.
Tony Mendy, constantly a threat to a sometimes ponderous back line, had an early chance for Saints but scuffed his shot wide. As time went on, Diamonds had to push on and began to leave gaps at the back. Saints won a number of free kicks around the area but couldn't capitalise on any and the introduction of Adam Louth began to increase the threat level on the Diamonds goal. His cross picked out Alex Paine at the far post and his header was well saved by Finlay. Louth was the recipient of a Mendy cross but couldn't get enough purchase on his header.
The coup de grace arrived in the final minutes as Saints won a free kick right out on the touchline. Swung in by Adam Louth it always looked dangerous but it befuddled Finlay and sailed over the keeper's reach into the far corner.
It was game over and Saints went back to the top of the table. Diamonds, having contributed so much to an excellent game, could feel disappointed as they had controlled large periods of play but lacked the necessary edge in front of goal on a day when Saints rose to the demands of the game and crowned it with two spectacular goals.
Saints: Michael Power-Simpson, Remmel Clarke, Craig Carby, Babs Jarra, Ryan Wharton, Alex Paine, Lewis Ochoa (Adam Kirby 78), Alan Hedley, Craige Tomkins (Adam Louth 67), Tony Mendy, Anthony Thomas (Aaron Lansiquot 61).
Attendance. 262 Star Player. Michael Power-Simpson
- Written by Ian
Mendy double takes the honours
Royston Town 1 Mason 67p
Saints 2 Mendy 19, 90+2
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central (Saturday 12 December)
After their midweek setback it was crucial for Saints to bounce back strongly on Saturday if they were to maintain their challenge at the top of the table.
Royston, themselves in the play-offs last season and challenging strongly this time, were tough opponents and in a game that was ultimately dicated by the windy conditions, both sides came out with a lot of credit even though it was Saints who grabbed the points in the dying minutes.
Without the influential Jack Mullan, Saints had to reshuffle their lineup and could have gone behind in the opening minutes but Michael Power-Simpson made a sharp save. Royston, unlike Chalfont's midweek opponents, Uxbridge, try to play football and even on a poor surface, both sides tried to move the ball around. Pace on the flanks was the main threat to Saints and Remmel Clarke and Craig Carby had to be on top form to quell the several dangerous breaks that were put together.
So it was against the run of play when Saints took the lead. A headed clearance eveaded the Royston back line, allowing Tony Mendy to run on and put the ball past the keeper with barely 20 minutes on the clock.
Some poor decisions by the officials for both sides raised the temperature on occasion but of concern was the increasing strength of the wind which also changed direct and meant that Saints would be playing up the slope and into the elements in the second half. This should have provided enough impetus to push for a further score before the break but further chances to Mendy and Craige Tomkins were not taken.
As expected, Saints were forced to spend most of the second half pinned in their own half, with most balls above head height being blown backwards towards their origin. Outstanding saves from Power-Simpson, one from a deliciously dipping free kick, backed up the herculean efforts of the defenders. Ryan Wharton, returning to one of his former clubs, was particularly motivated to do well and Babs Jarra put himself on the line several times.
Unable to break through in open play, Royston were handed a lifeline when Adam Louth conceded a penalty on the edge of the area and Rob Mason blasted home the spot kick.
Alan Hedley and Alex Paine strained every sinew in midfield to work the ball to the other end and just as it seemed that both sides would be happy to walk away with a draw, Tony Mendy again popped up to re-write the script. He gave himself a couple of sighters with chances that screamed out for something other than what he eventually did but with the clock well into stoppage time he finally got things lined up correctly and tucked the ball home for a late, late winner.
A huge result for Saints ahead of the big game next weekend when new leaders AFC Rushden & Diamonds visit Mill Meadow in a 1st v 2nd match up.
Saints: Michael Power-Simpson, Remmel Clarke, Craig Carby, Babs Jarra, Ryan Wharton, Alex Paine, Lewis Ochoa, Alan Hedley, Craige Tomkins (Aaron Lansiquot 70), Tony Mendy (Kofi Lockhart-Adams 90+5), Anthony Thomas (Adam Louth 60).
- Written by Ian