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City come out swinging but fail to go the distance in Boxing Day Derby

City’s playing record against their Boxing Day hosts, St Neots Town, has been particularly impressive down the years, so much so I’m sure they had never before tasted defeat at the Premier Plus Stadium.

So hopes were high before this match for maximum points against a side languishing in the bottom two.

City could field a strong enough team with the only absentees (all injured) being Scott Bridges, Mikey Davis, Jake Stronge and Tommy Rigby.

City began the match in positive fashion and the early pressure soon told. Jarid Robson was on hand to nod home from close range a beautifully in-swinging cross from the edge of the box.

City thought they had doubled their advantage 5 minutes later but Taylor Parr was adjudged to have infringed the home goalkeeper.

City’s pressure on the home goal continued and following a City free kick, a fierce rising shot from Robson just cleared the angle of post and bar. Then on the half hour mark a powerful header from Yaw Ofusu from the edge of box was almost steered in from close range by Ryan Ingrey.

City’s lead was doubled on 34 minutes. Robson broke away and his unselfish pass put Jake Battersby in the clear who shot calmly past the advancing keeper into the net.

So a deserved and fairly untroubled 2-0 lead for the Lilywhites at the break, what could possibly go wrong?

Tom Waumsley came on at the start of the second half to replace the influential Ryan Ingrey and City seemed to miss his strength and hold up play which had troubled the St Neots defence in the first period.

City were now attacking the end with the low, bright mid-winter sun as the backdrop. It was soon evident St Neots were not going to go down without a fight as they began the second half in determined fashion and City in comparison were lacking their usual fluidity, seemingly content to hold what they had rather than seeking a killer blow.

There were a couple of real scares on the City goal before home striker Joe Rider got the wrong side of the City defence to fire home and reduce the deficit on 65 minutes. The home side knew they were well and truly back in the match and were causing City real problems with their pace out wide. Bradley Gothard was introduced in an attempt to plug the gaps but within a couple of minutes St Neots were level when impressive frontman Trey Charles fired home from the angle.

City then brought on Ben Nolan to give City more attacking threat but St Neots continued to look dangerous and it was of no surprise when Brandon Njoko drilled home on 74 mins to complete the turnaround, all in the space of 9 minutes.

This goal proved to be the winner and City failed to seriously trouble the St Neots goal in the dying minutes to try and salvage something. The good number of City supporters in attendance left despondent and quite frankly shellshocked having witnessed their side throw away a two goal lead to lose the match.

City now have seven days to lick their wounds and prepare for another important match at home to Dereham Town on 2nd January.

Dan Barnes

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