SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Tamworth       5         St Neots Town        0

Forget the score line it was the performance that mattered, as St Neots struggle to find a semblance of normality following the midweek defection of seven senior players.   As they had four days earlier, the youngsters came up trumps despite the defeat by a side with several years’ experience in the Football Conference.   5-0 sounds like a thrashing but it was far from that with two key moments that shaped the final score.   Tamworth scored twice in two minutes prior to the break after the visitors had kept a clean sheet for 43 minutes, and then in a further two minutes spell in the second half experienced and much travelled striker – substitute Gregg Smith who had played for almost all the senior clubs in Lincolnshire – added two headed goals to extinguish any hopes of a St Neots come-back.  The visitors never gave up and created the two last chances of the match, but luck was never on their side trying find their way through an uncompromising home defence.   With three players still on the injury list St Neots named an unchanged side for the trip to Tamworth – only the fourth time in 38 games that their starting line-up has been unchanged.  With new Manager Marc Abbott an interested spectator in the dug-out, he will have made his assessment of what he needs to do going forward to try to pilot his side out of the relegation zone.

Tamworth man-of-the-match Chris Lait quickly made his mark on the game dribbling past three defenders to go clear in the fourth minute, but Finley Iron anticipated his shot and blocked with his legs.   A minute later the same player then cut in from the left but shot over the bar and shortly afterwards Jack Concannon and Claudio Dias both shot wide of the target.   St Neots first real attack after 22 minutes was halted when Kristian Green cynically upended Jordan Norville-Williams as he bore down on goal earning the home player an early caution.   For a spell there was limited goalmouth action as St Neots seemed to get the measure of their opponents but after 35 minutes the visitors were lucky not to concede when the lively Lait set up Jordan Gough whose volley beat Iron but rebounded from the inside of a post across the goal and was cleared.   Another run and shot by Norville-Williams flew wide and then after 43 minutes Jack Concannon was given too much space just inside the area and his lob beat Iron to put Tamworth ahead.   In time added before the break Chris Late was somewhat fortunate to double the lead when his complete miskick fooled the defence and made it 2-0.

Two efforts immediately after the break – one at each end could have shaped the outcome.   First hard-working Scott Pollock brought an excellent save from home keeper Jas Singh whilst at the other end Iron produced the save of the match to deny Lait.  However the home player had to wait only sixty seconds to make up for that disappointment as he rapped home from ten yards from a Joe Magunda free kick.   St Neots then introduced two substitutes pushing skipper Matt Miles into midfield, but it was a Tamworth substitution that was to prove more significant.   Within five minutes of joining the fray Gregg Smith picked up two goals to kill St Neots hopes, first rising high over the defence to power home a header from a Ryan Beswick corner and then stealing in unmarked at the far post to head home an accurate cross from Lait.  

To their credit St Neots refused to buckle and it was in the last fifteen minutes that they produced their best chances.   Pollock shot wide and substitute Reif Bissett-Clarke forced a good save from Singh.   The other substitute Owen Dunnett had a shot blocked following a Norville-Williams corner and the home keeper had to dive bravely at the feet of Joe Rider to smother a cross.   Smith was denied a home hat trick when Iron produced another good save, but St Neots had the last word when Bissett-Clarke cut in from the right to see Singh deny the visitors a consolation goal that they deserved.

Tamworth:  Singh, Green, Gough, Beswick, Kettle, Magunda, Clement, Waite, Dias, Lait

Subs:  Smith (for Dias 64 mins), Jemson (for Magunda 75 mins), Gordon (for Waite 81 mins)

Cards:  Green (Y – 22 mins)

Goals:  Lait 2 (45+1 & 55 mins), Smith 2 (67 & 69 mins), Concannon (43 mins)

 

St Neots Town:  Iron, Miles, Fulianty, Rhiney, Hughes, Shaw, Joseph, Pollock, Rider, Mutswunguma, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Bissett-Clark (for Joseph 57 mins), Dunnett (for Mutswunguma 66 mins) and Abbott

Cards:  none

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Jonathan Maskrey (Newark-on-Trent)

Attendance:  512

 

John Walker

UPCOMING MATCH PREVIEW

Last weekend was hugely significant and disappointing for the Club overshadowed by the news that serious consideration was being given to voluntary resignation from Step Three of the Football Pyramid.   FA regulations direct that in these circumstances a relegation of at least two steps is mandatory meaning that the UCL Premier Division is the best the club can hope for in the 2019/20 season if the proposed change is followed through.   The match scheduled for Saturday at home to Coalville then fell foul of the weather and then both Lowestoft and Halesowen picked up unexpected victories to dump the club back in the relegation zone for the first time since Christmas.   That was preceded by an announcement that Manager Matt Clements would vacate his role at the end of the season and then the departure of Assistant Manager Jack Cassidy and the two most senior players on the books.   Team skipper Luke Knight (141 includes 17 as sub) and defender Taylor Parr (125 includes 2 as sub) had amassed 247 first team starts between them – experience that will be impossible to fill in the sides’ remaining 14 league matches and the Hunts Senior Cup Final this season.   These departures were followed a few hours later by senior team regulars Johnny Herd, Russell Short, Tom Wood and James Hall.  On Tuesday a very inexperienced side made up of the remainder of the squad plus the Youth team battled bravely against play-off seeking Biggleswade Town only to lose to a single late goal.   The spirit and effort of the side was truly amazing and now life must go on under newly appointed Manager Marc Abbott who is to work in conjunction with Matt Clements before the latter ‘moves upstairs’ to his new role at the end of the season.   So on Saturday the side make their first ever visit to Tamworth who were relegated from the Conference (now National League) at the end of last season.   Tamworth currently in 17th place in the table just three points ahead of St Neots are on their third Manager of the season, former St Neots Manager Dennis Greene having had a short spell at their helm.   In the first meeting of the two sides at the Premier Plus Stadium a goalless draw resulted and with both teams now in urgent need of points it will be a vital meeting.

 

John Walker

 

 

 

 

 

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Biggleswade Town       1         St Neots Town        0

An heroic performance by the least experienced St Neots side ever to play in the Southern League fell just eight minutes short of a deserved but unexpected League point at play-off chasing hopefuls Biggleswade.   The imposed austerity due to the club announcement of an immediate cutback in the budget, had seen the prompt departure of no fewer than six senior first team regulars and with three more on the injury list Manager Matt Clements had to call upon the youth team for reinforcements.   As a result eight changes were made in the starting line up with no fewer than five players handed a senior league debut for the side.   In all the team boasted less than a hundred St Neots senior starting line-ups between them but they belied the statistics and almost recorded a totally unpredictable result.   However, with more than a third of the season remaining, it was the performance on the night that was as important as the result and with Marc Abbott announced as the new Manager immediately after the match it is now an exciting new beginning for the side.   The Biggleswade side were naïve, perhaps believing they only had to turn up to collect the points, but the determination and effort of the young visiting side quickly made it clear that they were going to have to work hard for the points.   Significantly it was a Biggleswade substitute introduced to replace former St Neots player Dylan Williams that made the late breakthrough with the only goal of the match.

Williams had the first goal effort of the game after ten minutes, but he could only find the side-netting.   St Neots replied with a Joe Rider effort comfortably handled by Saints former keeper Sam Donkin.   Joe White then had the chance to open the scoring played clear in space by Williams, but he volleyed well wide.   Another effort by White from close range was deflected by Matt Miles – the fifth player to wear the St Neots captains’ armband this season.   As the game settled on the very heavy surface Rider had another effort saved but the best first half chance fell to Biggleswade’s Matt Ball after 31 minutes, whose shot was brilliantly turned over the bar by Finley Iron.   Biggleswade were shading possession indicated by a growing corner count but the St Neots defence playing together for the first time were resolute and determined.   From one of those corners, another former Saint, Jordan Gent won the ball in the air only to see it rebound from the crossbar to be cleared.   The half ended with a St Neots breakaway attach in which Jordan Norville-Williams shot over the bar.

A smart move at the start of the second half saw Ball and White combine on the left to set up Williams, but he volleyed over the bar and was shortly afterwards replaced by substitute Johnny McNamara.   Another Norville-Williams effort was wide from a Scott Pollock free kick and then new skipper Matt Miles joined the St Neots attack to short narrowly over the crossbar.   For a spell St Neots seemed to take the initiative with the impressive Jacob Joseph and Prince Mutswunguma both going close for St Neots but with the home side regrouping with all their substitutes utilised the visitors began to flag in the difficult conditions.   Gent again used his height and strength to carve out another shooting opportunity but saw his effort fly wide and Iron saved well from White.   The deciding moments came eight minutes from time when following another Biggleswade corner Johnny McNamara forced the ball home from close range in a goalmouth scramble.   It was a disappointing blow, but St Neots refused to submit and in a late show of defiance Pollock sent a lengthy effort just wide.

Biggleswade Town:  Donkin, Makoma, Walster, Forbes, Gent, Longe-King, Lucien, Williams, White, Ball, Nwaboukei

Subs:  McNamara (for Ball 63 mins), Clark (for Williams 66 mins), Donnelly (for Lucien 78 mins), Thomas and Bell.

Cards:  none

Goals:  McNamara (82 mins)

 

St Neots Town:  Iron, Miles, Fulianty, Rhiney, Hughes, Shaw, Joseph, Pollock, Rider, Mutswunguma, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Mutswunguma, Bissett-Clark (for Jacob 76 mins), Minall (for Mutswunguma 83 mins) Dunnett (for Fulianty 84 mins), O’Hara and Burberry.

Cards:  Mutswunguma (Y – 56 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Andrew Hitchcox 

Attendance:  188

 

John Walker

The Board Of Directors are excited to confirm the appointment of MARC ABBOTT as the new First Team Manager.

MARC joins us from Thurlow Nunn side Haverhill Rovers, having been associated with the club for fourteen years , a feat rarely seen in the game these days.

MARC leaves Rovers sitting in 11th place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division after a 15 month spell in the managerial hot seat. He was also this season's leading scorer with 10 goals from midfield.

Holding the Uefa B badge, he has become a highly sought after coach and we are absolutely overjoyed to have secured our number one target to replace the outgoing MATT CLEMENTS, who has become the Club's new Director of Football.

MARC will be in charge for Saturday's trip to Tamworth and will work closely with MATT CLEMENTS as the pair prepare for the 2019/2020 season.

MARC'S statement can be found to the right of the page (click to enlarge)

Please join us in welcoming MARC and his family to the Premier Plus Stadium and we hope your tenure with us will be both successful and enjoyable.

 

TOM WOOD has today decided to leave the Club.

Mr Versatile took to social media this morning to leave a message saying goodbye and thank you.

We would like to wish TOM and his family all the very best of luck for the future and thank him for his efforts and goals during his second spell here with us

Following on from yesterday's announcement on player departures, we can confirm that another two players have decided to leave St Neots Town FC with immediate effect.

Long serving left back JOHNNY HERD and centre half/midfielder RUSSELL SHORT both took to social media this morning to confirm their exits.

Two of the nicest guys you could meet off the pitch, we would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for all their efforts in the blue shirts and we wish them all the very best of luck in both their football and personal lives.

Thanks lads......

In the aftermath of last week's Club announcement regarding Matt Clements' decision to step down at the and of the season and impending streamlining to the playing budget, it is with deep regret that we confirm that captain LUKE KNIGHT, centre half TAYLOR PARR and Assistant Manager JACK CASSIDY have all announced that have left St Neots Town Football Club with immediate effect.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank LUKE and TAYLOR for their efforts and their loyalty over the last couple of years and also JACK, who joined us earlier this season and we hope all three go on to be successful at their next clubs.

Thank you lads......  

Matt Clements

Matt has informed us that he is to step down at the end of the 2018-2019 season after discussions with the Football Club. We have always enjoyed a great relationship with Matt and made it clear from the start that we would like him to have a long-term involvement with the club, so, we are pleased to announce that Matt has accepted the role of Director of Football and will replace Iain Parr who has become a share holder of St Neots Town FC Ltd. 

Matt will oversee all aspects of the club’s football development and will work alongside the club’s Academy Manager and Lead Scholarship coach.  Matt's first role will be to work with Iain and Barry to start the process of recruiting a new manager who we hope to have in place before the end of the season to make the transition as smooth as possible.

We would like to go on record and thank Matt for all he has achieved as First Team manager and it goes without saying that we are thrilled that he will remain an integral part of the football club's future.

 

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Needham Market       0         St Neots Town        1

St Neots recorded their first victory of 2019 and their first away league win since 23rd October as they avenged a 3-0 home reversal by their Suffolk hosts in their first meeting in November at the Premier Plus Stadium.   It was a strange day in the league with all six bottom clubs picking up at least a point – five of them playing away from home.  It was a changed St Neots line up with three players missing from the previous match all for different reasons.   Dylan Williams had departed from the Club to join neighbours Biggleswade Town, Ryan Hughes was unavailable and skipper Luke Knight was beginning a two-match ban as he serves his fourth suspension of the season.  Into their places came Jack Newell, another loanee from Northampton Town, and Tom Wood and Gary Wharton who were both on the substitutes bench for the Alvechurch match.   It was victory achieved in difficult circumstances for St Neots lost two players to injury in the first 45 minutes with two very inexperienced substitutes coming on in replacement.   Prince Mutswunguma was making only his second start for the side whilst seventeen years old youth starlet Jacob Joseph celebrated his senior debut.

St Neots had an excellent first half creating most of the openings for themselves whilst defensively looking very sound.  In the first five minutes Taylor Parr saw an opportunistic overhead effort just clear the cross bar and Gary Wharton broke clear on the right but his shot passed the wrong side of the far post.     Then after 20 minutes a Matt Miles corner was won in the air by Parr, but his header was scrambled off the line by a home defender.   Needham was enjoying plenty of possession, but they never created a clear chance in the opening half hour as the reshaped visiting defence looked untroubled.   Wharton limped off injured after just 27 minutes and his replacement Prince Mutswunguma quickly settled in to look creative playing just behind striker James Hall.  The first serious threat to the visiting goal came after 33 minutes when Taylor Parr stretched to clear an Adam Mills cross but the ball deflected to James Baker whose first shot was blocked and his follow-up effort was spectacularly tipped over the bar by Finley Iron.   A Mills cross saw the St Neots defence backpedalling, but the ball was too long and then Scott Sinclair had to limp off just before half time with a leg injury.

The visitors began the second half still looking comfortable and another Mills shot from distance was safely gathered by Iron.    Two left wing corner by Johnny Herd tested the home defence – the first only cleared as far as Russell Short who shot over but the second after 54 minutes saw a much more profitable replay of the first as the ball dropped to Short and his volley through a packed area beat home keeper Jake Jessup (once having played for the Saints) and it gave the defender his first goal for the Club on his 22nd appearance.   The home side redoubled their attacking effort and Callum Sturgess burst down the left, but his shot only found the side netting.   Young Joseph was not looking out of place and he confidently went past two opponents but shot wide and then the hard-working James Hall was robbed by a defender after chasing down a Jack Newell through pass.   With fifteen minutes remaining St Neots seemed to tire and Needham saw a way back into the match.   They began to exert pressure on the visiting defence and Luke Ingram headed over when he won a Mills cross.   Ingram then went clear of the defence but fired wildly over the bar and on a quick break Jordan Norville-Williams was hauled down making for goal earning the home defender a caution.  However, it was all Needham in the final five minutes as Joseph Marsden twice squandered good chances to earn his side a share of the points, both times firing high over the bar.  The home side did get the ball in the net two minutes from time, but the Referee had spotted a foul on Iron and awarded a free kick.   St Neots held out for a well-deserved and welcome three points.

 

Needham:  Jessup, Marsden, Sturgess, Squire, Morphew (K), Morphew (D), Ingram, Heath, Baker, Dobson, Mills

Subs:  Griffiths (for Dobson 66 mins), Kamanzi, Pelling, McLoughlin and Cook.

Cards:  Dobson (Y – 23 mins), Marsden (Y – 56 mins), Morphew (K) (Y – 83 mins)

Goals:  none

 

St Neots:  Iron, Miles, Herd, Wood, Short, Parr, Sinclair, Newell, Hall, Wharton, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Mutswunguma (for Wharton 27 mins), Joseph (for Sinclair 45+3 mins) and Rhiney

Cards:  Sinclair (Y – 21 mins), Parr (Y – 71 mins)

Goals:  Short (54 mins)

 

Referee:  Karl Sear (Chelmsford)

Attendance:  299

 

John Walker

Your Community Club Needs You!

We are looking for volunteer help to assist the Town’s Community Football Club in a number of areas.

The club is not just about football on a Saturday, we are providing and offering numerous events both sporting and non-sporting, all of which require planning and supporting. Our charity work needs administrating, as does the day-to-day running of all operations. We also need to maintain the site and facilities, and media offerings, ensuring we have cover & support for all games, functions and events. 

 

If you have some spare time on your hands, have maybe a particular skill to offer and would be interested in joining the team in an official capacity please contact us, come down to the club and see what we are about.

It is your Town, your Team, come and be a part of it!

If you are interested, Contact us via

Tel – 01480 470012

Email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or send us a message via our Facebook page and we will get back to you.

#wearesaints

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