Tenacious Saints power to the top

ST MARTIN’S powered their way back to the top of the FNB Priaulx League with a performance as good as anything they have produced this stop-start campaign.

Two-goal Louis Hunter picks up possession at Blanche Pierre last evening.
(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29510661)
Two-goal Louis Hunter picks up possession at Blanche Pierre last evening. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29510661)

Manzur arrived with a full strength side, which would have cheered the onlooking Rovers boss Kevin Gillease, praying for an away win.

But physically they were no match for Leon Meakin’s men and with Louis Hunter netting either side of the break Saints were three up and cruising long before the end of an eventual 3-1 victory.

A minute’s silence in memory of Scott Bradford again preceded the action which attracted surprisingly few given the importance of the fixture but, no doubt, lost out to the counter-attraction of the Champions League semi.

An errant pass by Peter Ffoulkes early on very nearly produced an early opener for Danny Hale who just just too high.

Manzur, who had returned to their best central defensive pairing of the two Toms – Dodds and Martin – initially knocked the ball around stylishly but there was an impressive intensity and tenacity about the early Saints play and having forced a corner 15min. in Dom Heaume headed against the bar.

Jordan Kelly then made a remarkable point blank block to deny Joe Blackham who momentarily suffered a Werner moment.

Aerially, Saints were a big threat but the half hour mark arrived with no breakthrough and mild frustration among the St Martin’s locals.

Then a goal.

Eti Le Prevost forced a mistake out of Liam Mahon, Blackham was freed and although Kelly got a hand to his shot Heaume raced in to tuck the loose ball away.

On the verge of half time Hunter doubled the lead.

Heaume headed a high ball back across goal and the midfielder latched onto it and powered his own header home.

The second half opened with more Saints power and pressure, Jamie Dodd heading wastefully over before Hunter killed off the visitors with a fine, curling eight-foot shot that found the corner to Kelly’s left hand.

Matt Loaring pulled one back with Manzur’s first serious effort after almost an hour’s play and it was a beauty too. Rihoy forced Martin into a fine save low to his right and Manzur suddenly became an attacking force.

But Kelly made a couple of fine late saves for the visitors and Saints never looked like yielding.

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