Referee: Tom Reeves (Ansty, Coventry)
Saints forced to settle for a point after stalemate with Hungerford Town.
Three points would have seen the Saints climb atop the National League South on Saturday but it wasn’t to be for Ian Allinson’s side. A blustery afternoon turned into a frustrating one for City who dominated both possession and chances but couldn’t find that all elusive goal.
Both teams began understandably tentative in very windy conditions but it wasn’t long before Saints upped the tempo. Rhys Murrell-Williamson made a nuisance of himself down the right, his cross eventually finding Zane Banton whose shot rolled the wrong side of the post.
Banton came again though, this time trying to round Hungerford’s keeper Lewis Ward whose outstretched boot prevented an inevitable tap in.
Hungerford posed little threat to Dean Snedker’s goal in the first half, their attack finding it difficult to break down City’s well-organised defence, often opting for a long ball.
The Saints piled the pressure on as the first half drew to a close and were almost rewarded for their perseverance when Sam Merson rattled the bar after latching onto Banton’s rebounding shot, but the Saints were left with nothing to show for their pressure.
The half time break introduced debutant Nathaniel Pinney to the fray whose powerful frame and physicality seemed to grant City an alternative avenue in their attack. He caused problems with his hold up play and was denied a debut goal after his 25-yard strike was turned wide by Ward, who was beginning to look unbeatable at this point.
City were almost punished for their wastefulness in front of goal as Hungerford came close to breaking the deadlock. Paul Stonehouse’s cross was half cleared by Tom Bender but fell kindly to Jordan Simpson on the edge of the box, thumping a low shot against the upright.
Usual business resumed soon after with the Saints comfortably in control of proceedings. A goal seemed inevitable as the pressing continued late into the game but Hungerford came away unscathed.
Pinney came close to sealing all three points late into added time, but couldn’t get a touch on Shaun Lucien’s low, driven cross which flashed just wide of the far post.
Written by Harry Blackburn