Dean delivers as Saints storm to first home victory
Saints go into the Vanarama National League North clash on the back of Saturday’s 1-0 victory over FC United of Manchester.
Saints won a game they dominated throughout courtesy of central defender Gareth Dean after the second half was delayed for almost 20 minutes due to a violent thunderstorm with the officials concerned for player safety.
For the opening half an hour the visitors struggled to gain a toehold as Saints threatened time and again. Jimmy Armson fired just wide before being denied by keeper Dave Carnell and a delightful move saw Lee Ndlovu find the net only to be ruled offside in what was a very tight decision.
But Saints were unable to convert first half possession and chances and the visitors appeared to have weathered the storm as the rain lashed down from the dark skies over St James Park.
Nathan Lowe had United’s first shot in the 24th minute but Laurie Walker goal was rarely threatened. Steve Diggin could not connect with Glenn Walker’s inch-perfect cross on the stroke of halftime as United held out.
After the extended break, Saints resumed with increased tempo and a period of sustained pressure led to the only goal in the 69th minute. Armson’s deep corner found Dean who had peeled away at the back post, his header was cleared but had already crossed the line.
Ndlovu’s effort grazed the post and Diggin hit the woodwork with a fierce shot. Further chances were spurned by the home side while United rarely threatened as Saints saw out four minutes of added-time.
Dean and his defence safely dealt with anything United threw at them in the closing stages. Clever play by substitute George Jeacock in the dying moments created a last chance for Armson whose shot was just wide of the goal.
Wilkin praised his side for this first home win of the season and said: “This keeps us moving forward and I hope will start to bring some more supporters through the turnstiles.
“I was pleased to score on another set-play as we had worked on this in the week, that’s four goals from the back now. We have worked on this so we are more dangerous from set-plays.
“We moved the ball well today and created lots of chances. I am delighted we got over the line and got the three points and we look now to Monday’s game at Gainsborough.”