North Leigh made the trip to Cambridgeshire on Saturday to face a St Neots team who were relegated from the Southern Premier division last season. Both teams came into the fixture having won one, drawn one and lost one. As such, a close encounter was anticipated but once the game got under way there was a marked difference between the sides.
One change was made to the Millers team, Joshua Dutton-Black being restored to the starting 11.
The opening phase of the game saw the Millers in control, moving the ball around effectively and looking to press forward at every opportunity. Early openings were created for George Seacole and Callum McNish but both were unable to convert. The clearest opportunity fell to Morgan Williams. The winger cut in past his marker on the right and closed in on goal but his shot was deflected behind. Adam Learoyd then had a free header at the back post saved from the resulting corner. North Leigh were well on top in the match and finding success down both channels.
An outstanding performance from North Leigh in the 5-1 away victory that sent the players, managers, coaches and fans home extremely happy.
The pressure on the home team did tell midway through the first half. Jordy Ngathe had time and space in his own half to play a perfect ball over the defence which was picked up by George Seacole. The forward controlled the ball and sent a delightful chip over the approaching keeper. The prolific striker has started the season in great form with 4 goals in 5 games but there was slight concern a short while later as he pulled up with a knock. After a period of treatment on the pitch he was withdrawn and replaced by Tyriq Hunte.
North Leigh continued on the front foot and scored a second goal nine minutes before the break. Morgan Williams whipped in a corner from the right and Captain Ben Brown got in front of his marker to prod home.
With their tails up, North Leigh pressed hard for another goal before the interval. Lance Williams was a persistent problem for the home team in the first half with his tenacious running and his refusal to allow anyone time on the ball. He was able to capitalise on a loose pass and move the ball forward to Hunte, who picked out Williams’ run into the left of the penalty area and the winger fired home.
A dominant and impressive first half performance all over the pitch from North Leigh.
St. Neots rallied after half time as they looked for a way back in; they managed to fire one effort wide of the goal and had another, fortunately for the Millers, deflected into the hands of keeper Eddie Cavanagh.
It was the Millers who put the game to bed though. Impressive close control from Hunte under pressure from three St. Neots’ defenders allowed him to move into the box and pull the ball back for Morgan who placed a shot into the roof of the net for his second goal.
Just past the hour and the Millers scored their fifth of the afternoon. Hunte was again involved, working space down the left wing; his cross rebounding off the crossbar for Dutton-Black to tap in.
The team looked composed at the back, solid in the middle of the park, energetic on the flanks and impressive in the final third.
With 25 minutes left to play there could have been further goals for the Millers, but the young St Neots team must be commended for refusing to capitulate. They were rewarded for their efforts with a consolation goal before the end. Alfie Connor with a fine, curling free kick finding the top corner from 25 yards out. Cavanagh in the away goal had produced a flying save to his right a short while earlier from a near identical situation, but he was left with no chance this time.
An outstanding performance from North Leigh in the 5-1 away victory that sent the players, managers, coaches and fans home extremely happy. The team looked composed at the back, solid in the middle of the park, energetic on the flanks and impressive in the final third.
With two goals and an assist in the match for winger Morgan Williams, he was having an afternoon on the pitch as eventful as the last time out against Wantage Town and earned himself the Manager's Man of the Match award.
There is little rest for the guys in this first month or so of the season as the games come thick and fast. Having already bagged the three points on Saturday, they will be keen to back this up and take the same level of performance into Tuesday evening’s home game against Halesowen. After that, attention will quickly return to the FA Cup and a long trip down to Devon to face Willand Rovers FC in the First Qualifying round. A challenging, but exciting week in prospect.