GEORGE Casey rescued a point for ten-man Blues as he netted four minutes from time to stretch their unbeaten run to five games..
Casey’s first goal of the season gave Kevin Watson’s side a deserved share of the points from this contest at the Premier Plus Stadium.
Eleven minutes earlier Jack Thomas had been shown a straight red card after an incident with the Saints’ skipper Luke Knight.
Although the hosts shaded possession for most of the game the Blues showed their now familiar grit and determination to battle all the time in a fixture that was at times physical.
The Blues squad showed just one change to normal with Chad Cruse coming in at left back in place of Tom Clifford who had played for Southend United’s under 23 side the day before. The Saints included Kyran Wiltshire, who played a few games for Stortford a couple of seasons back, whilst former Woodside favourite Johnny Herd was not quite fit and was on the home bench.
Watson’s men were on the back-foot at the start and in the fourth minute Tom Wood’s cross from the right resulted in a glancing header from Nabil Shariff that went wide of the far post.
In the eighth minute Dylan Williams advanced to drive a shot from the edge of the box against Calum Kitscha’s right-hand upright as the Blues took time to settle.
Stortford first threatened in the 24th minute when Darren Foxley saw his shot deflected off target after an attack on the right and a lay-back by Alfie Mason. Soon afterwards a shot on the turn by Mason was close before home keeper just held the ball in front of Jamie Cureton after Mason had crossed the ball into the middle.
It was Stortford who took the lead three minutes before half-time. Another attack up the right side involving Jack Thomas and George Casey led to Darren Foxley and Jamie Cureton exchanging passes and when Cureton laid the ball back on the edge of the box Foxley fired a low shot into the far bottom corner.
The Blues nearly extended their lead straight after the break as an early Foxley cross towards the near post was headed wide by Jordan Westcott. Unfortunately the midfielder suffered a groin injury in the process and was to take no further part in the game and was replaced by Callum Taylor.
There was more woe for Stortford when, in the 47th minute, defender Jordan Norville-Williams advanced on a run from his own half own half and planted his drive against Kitscha’s left-hand upright and striker Nabil Shariff netted from the rebound.
The Blues stopper was then in the picture soon afterwards holding a shot from Shariff followed by a flying save to tip a rising shot by Williams over the bar.
Marvel Ekpiteta cleared well near the goal-line after Dion Sembie-Ferris crossed from the right after a sustained attack by the Saints.
Just after the hour mark there was a ‘Geoff Hurst World Cup Final 1966’ moment featuring Stortford that didn’t end in their favour. George Casey crossed in towards the near post from the right and Jamie Cureton’s first time effort sent the ball crashing against the underside of the bar and appeared to rebound down over the goal-line but the officials didn’t award a goal. The Blues lack of luck was compounded as within a minute the hosts had attacked upfield and Dylan Williams shot low into the net from outside the box past Kitscha.
Sembie-Ferris went close shortly afterwards and then fourteen minutes from time the incident between Jack Thomas and Luke Knight in the centre-circle occurred with the Blues midfielder sent off and the hosts’ skipper yellow carded.
Matters didn’t look great for Stortford but they celebrated an equaliser in the 86th minute. Jamie Cureton retrieved a loose ball over on the left and swivelled to deliver a cross into the middle where Callum Taylor’s glancing header sent the ball towards the back post and Casey making a perfectly timed run from the right met it and his angled low shot hit the net inside the far post.
Darren Foxley had a shot from the edge of the area blocked late on whilst the Huntingdonshire side’s substitute Stefan Broccoli was narrowly wide with the last kick of the match.
STORTFORD: Calum Kitscha; George Casey; Chad Cruse; Mark Hughes; Marvel Ekpiteta; Joe Robinson; Jordan Westcott (Callum Taylor 48); Jack Thomas; Alfie Mason (Freddie Oakman 81); Jamie Cureton; Darren Foxley.
Unused substitutes: Max Brassington, Tom Clifford and Marcus Crowther.
ST NEOTS TOWN: Finlay Iron; Tom Wood; Jordan Norville-Williams; Luke Knight; Liam McDevitt; Taylor Parr; Dion Sembie-Ferris (Scott Sinclair 90); Dave Bridges; Nabil Shariff; Kyran Wiltshire (Stefan Broccoli 87); Dylan Williams.
Unused substitutes: Jonny Butler, Dan Buddle and Johnny Herd.
Referee: Alex Rayment