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
Saints mugged by Grant hat-trick
Saints 1 Paine 2
Uxbridge 3 Grant, 30, 75, 90
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central (Tuesday 8 December)
Saints: Michael Power-Simpson, Rmmel Clarke, Craig Carby, Babs Jarra, Ryan Wharton, Alex Paine, Lewis Ochoa, Jack Mullan (Aaron Lansiquot 17), Craige Tomkins (Adam Louth 58), Tony Mendy, Alan Hedley (Anthony Thomas 79).
- Written by Ian
Saints ease past Hanwell
Saints 3 Mendy 55, Tomkins 78, Louth 90
Hanwell Town 0
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central (Saturday 28 November)
Match photos at https://flic.kr/s/aHskq9UaLE
Saints continued their winning form with what was ultimately a comfortable win over a Hanwell side that had threatened in the early stages to create an upset.
Without Alan Hedley, absent as he awaits the joys of impending parenthood, for the first time this season, Saints looked underpowered in midfield, allowing the visitors to press hard against the Saints defence. A string of corners forced Michael Power-Simpson into some high class saves. The returning Danilson Vicente was all effort as he tried to put one over on his former teammates and it was half an hour before Saints began to claw their way back into the game. Tony Mendy, although closely marked, is not a player to be denied and better finishing from him could have given Saints a first half lead. Other chances fell to Craige Tomkins and Aaron Lansiquot and Kofi Lockhart-Adams should have done better to finish with only the keeper to beat.
The second half saw Saints continue to take control and the deadlock was broekn after 10 minutes when Tony Mendy, as only he can, slipped between two defenders in a crowded area and slide the ball past the keeper for goal number 15 in just 12 league games since the start of September. With 17 in total he is clear at the top of league hot shots.
With the threat from Hanwell beginning to dissipate against the disciplined Saints defenders as the second half took shape, the increasing probings of the home side, led by the teasing crosses from Craige Tomkins, began to open cracks in the Hanwell defence. It was Craige Tomkins himself who stretched the lead as he drove straight through the middle to fire home past a bewildered keeper.
By now it was all one way traffic and a late strike from substitute Adam Louth was the icing on the cake.
A three goal winning margin, the cementing of third place and a third successive clean sheet, the first time Chalfont has achieved this in the Southern League, made it a triple success for Saints as they enter a very challenging new month.
Saints: Michael Power-Simpson, Remmel Clarke, Craig Carby, Jack Mullan, Ryan Wharton, Alex Paine, Aaron Lansiquot (Tyrone Pink 77), Lewis Ochoa, Craige Tomkins (Adam Louth 83), Tony Mendy, Kofi Lockhart-Adams (Anthony Thomas 70).
Attendance. 60 Star Player. Craige Tomkins
- Written by Ian
Saints impress with assured win
Saints 1 Tomkins 53
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central (Saturday 21 November)
Match photos at: https://flic.kr/s/aHskme5LbC
If Saints are to maintain their challenge at the top of the table this season, it is important to get good results against solid, well-organised sides like Northwood. So Saturday's win was a huge feather in the cap for Danny and his side and the tactics employed to negate the threats posed by the home side.
A single goal early in the second half was enough to separate the two sides on a chilly afternoon. Both sides lined up to neutralise the perceived main threat posed by the other. Lewis Ochoa and Remmel Clarke, both playing in unusual positions for them, both excelled in the full back role minimising the Northwood flank players and denying service to top scorer Michael Murray. In reply, Burgess and Kenny had to double-team Tony Mendy to keep the Division's top scorer off the score sheet.
The two defences dominated play and so chances were few and far between. Saints certainly felt they didn't get the rub of the green with some of the refereeing decisions in the first half as Tony Mendy repeatedly challenged the home defence with his fast breaking runs. Charlie Kennedy was strong in the air and Mark Burgess resolute on the ground for Northwood.
Saints looked confident throughout the side and despite some nervous moments, the defence, marshalled excellently as always by Ryan Wharton never looked seriously under threat. Alan Hedley and Alex Paine have finally found a system that brings out the best in both of them in midfield and Aaron Lansiquot was enjoying one of his more threatening performances.
The second half promised more of the sparring, interrupted only by some increasingly pedantic officiating, but a moment of magic from Aaron Lansiquot finally broke the deadlock. Breaking into the box past several players, he lifted the ball into the path of Craige Tomkins and his crisp finish gave Laurencin no chance in the Northwood goal.
As the game went on, neither side looked likely to trouble their opponents defence and despite several changes late on the die was set and the clock ran out on another satisfying win for a Chalfont side that is starting to look like the real deal.
Saints: Michael Power-Simpson, Lewis Ochoa, Remmel Clarke, Jack Mullan, Ryan Wharton, Alex Paine, Aaron Lansiquot, Alan Hedley, Anthony Thomas (Kofi Lockhart-Adams 72), Tony Mendy (Enoch Showunmi 76), Craige Tomkins (Adam Louth 86).
- Written by Ian