9 Man Town Claim Important Victory
A spirited 2nd half performance hands St Helens their first win in 11.
This match report is sponsored by Top Car Detailing
With it now being 10 matches since St Helens Town’s last win, they entered Saturday’s game against bottom side Nelson knowing that a confidence boosting victory was a real possibility. Last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat against in form Oswestry Town was a case of “same old story” for St Helens, who failed to put away the multiple good chances their play created. Having said this, Lee Jenkinson continued to have faith in his players, as a familiar line up was once again picked. The encouraging signs of key players returning to the side continued, as Liam Dodd once again made the bench, and Andy Webster returned from his period of leave to take the captains armband at centre half.
The opening exchanges started evenly, with both sides looking to take the initiative early on. Christopher Turner hit a shot from range that went past the post before jinking through many Town defenders, but he fired his shot over the bar from close range.
Shaun Brady had a golden opportunity for Town moments later, but he couldn’t find a way past the Nelson goalkeeper when through on goal.
Nelson looked the more likely to score in the opening 20 minutes and their superiority was rewarded as Alexander Grice headed in from a corner, as the hosts dealt the first blow in the contest.
Town looked to respond as Alex Ashby cut inside from the right and played Brady through, he rounded a defender but his effort was well saved at the goalkeeper’s near post.
Town continued to create chances through Brady. Matty Smith played him through, he rounded the goalkeeper that stood between him and an equaliser, but took long to get his shot away and eventually fired the ball over the bar. Town again were through on an open goal, with Alex Ashby rounding the keeper this time, however a tremendous tackle from Ashley Brierley prevented Town from scoring.
HT: Nelson (Grice, 20) 1 – 0 St Helens Town
Lee Jenkinson needed to inspire his players after their first half performance. It appeared that he had done just that as Town started the 2nd half as much the better team. A succession of corners failed to produce a goal, but an Alex Ashby free kick from a tight angle that was fired through a crowd of players gave St Helens a vital lifeline.
Town continued to pummel the Nelson area, with Shaun Brady having multiple chances that just failed to find the net, as well as an effort cleared off the line as a result of some heroic Nelson defending.
Nelson could only hold on until the 69th minute, as an Ashby corner from the left hit Nelson player Nathan Gibson on the thigh which diverted the ball past the keeper to give Town the lead for the 1st time.
Town’s chances of holding on for victory were dealt a blow as the star of the 2nd half Ashby was sent off for his participation in a resulting fracas after a foul. After this the tireless Shaun Brady was replaced by Liam Dodd who took his place up front, as Town looked to wind down the game.
There was more drama towards the end of a game, as substitute Dodd was sent off for a clash with a Nelson player on the ground, resulting in more clashes between both sets of players. Nelson’s Christopher Turner was also sent off for his part in the incident, making it 9 men against 10 heading into the closing stages.
Town managed to hold one for the last minutes and 7 minutes of stoppage time, helped largely by some terrific defending from captain Andy Webster, to claim their 1st win in 11 matches.
FT: Nelson (Grice, 20) 1 – 2 St Helens Town (Ashby, 52) (Own Goal, 69)